House acknowledged that her client's racial views, which were captured on audio and videotape recorders during the undercover investigation, were "distasteful and heinous." She described Boese as very immature emotionally and said he had told a psychologist that he imagined that once he was in prison, he would have the chance to engage in philosophical discussions about race with other inmates.
House called that a distorted fantasy of prison life.
In addition to their arguments for leniency, the lawyers for Fisher and Boese urged the judge to help them arrange for the defendants to serve their sentences in minimum-security prisons. The combination of their clients' ages, their notoriety and their association with racist views could otherwise subject Boese and Fisher to harm while in custody, the attorneys argued.
One doctor who examined Fisher warned that putting him into the general prison population could endanger his safety and chances for rehabilitation.
"He would promptly be taken over and thus protected by the white supremacists (perhaps with sexual subjugation as the price)," Louis Jolyon West wrote of Fisher. "The alternative might be his death by assassination."
Although judges cannot usually request a prison assignment for the defendants they sentence, Byrne agreed to meet with attorneys and to consider drafting a special request to the Bureau of Prisons. Greenberg said prosecutors had no objection to that arrangement, and Byrne scheduled a hearing for next week.
As Thursday's hearing concluded, Boese and his family quickly left the courtroom, declining comment as they hustled through the courthouse corridor.
Fisher, who has been in custody since his arrest, was allowed to speak briefly with his father before he was escorted away by U.S. marshals. Fisher was shackled and handcuffed and led from the courtroom. His girlfriend, who has attended many of the hearings, waved a tearful farewell.
"I love you," she said as he passed, flanked by marshals.
"I love you too," Fisher responded.