The former chief of staff to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, Ted Loza, will spend eight months in prison, another four on supervised release, and 150 hours doing community service.

Loza, who pleaded guilty to taking $1,500 in gratuities in connection with legislation on the taxi industry, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court, four months after his guilty plea. U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he was considering more than the money; he was looking at “the measure of a man,” as he imposed sentencing. Prosecutors had asked the judge to send Loza to prison for 14 months, the maximum time allowable under sentencing guidelines for his offense. Loza’s defense attorneys had asked for probation. (Due to an editing error, this post originally said Loza had pleaded guilt to taking bribes, not gratuities.)

In arguing for the longer sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb had asked the judge to send a clear message: “You sell your position. You go to jail.” In arguing that Loza’s history of community service should earn him probation, Loza’s lawyer, Pleasant Brodnax, decided to read a poem at one point: “Not, how did he die? But how did he live?” the poem starts.

The poem is called the “Measure of a Man,” and the judge referred back to it several times while explaining his sentencing decision. “One considers the measure of a man like Mr. Brodnax said, the good bad and the ugly,” Friedman said. “I guess I’m mixing my metaphors.”

Leaving the hearing, Loza, who apologized for his actions in court, seemed to think the proceeding had gone well. “It was a good day,” he told some supporters.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery