(Reuters) – What do Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, and the dark web buccaneer known as Dread Pirate Roberts all have in common?

REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Stuck behind bars, they all turned to sentencing reformer Brandon Sample.

Sample, a Rutland, Vermont-based attorney, argued before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January in an effort to get Joseph Maldonado-Passage’s murder-for-hire conviction and sentence tossed.

Known as “Joe Exotic,” Maldonado-Passage garnered fame last year when Netflix featured his Oklahoma private zoo and rivalry with Florida big cat rescue activist Carole Baskin in the series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Sample was only partially successful. On Wednesday, the 10th Circuit upheld Maldonado-Passage’s conviction on two counts of hiring hitmen to kill Baskin, though it vacated his 22-year sentence and remanded his case for new sentencing. The appellate court held the trial judge...

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