To quote the judge in the case:

If he had been an aircraft hijacker, he would have gotten 24 years in prison. If he’s been a terrorist, he would have gotten 20 years in prison. If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55-year sentence? I mean, that’s just not right

But what if the judge had just said "no". What if he had made this quote when he passed sentence, and followed it with, "... so I just won't do it."

I don't completely blame the judge, that is a hard stand to make. You will likely never find work in your field again, but eventually it has to be the individuals involved that make the stand. Who else can do it?