Fox News spoke to two criminal defense attorneys -- who are not involved in representing actress Felicity Huffman -- to gauge their reactions to the celeb's sentencing on Friday over her part in a sprawling and notorious college admissions scandal.
And they offered a nuanced take on what went down in court.
Huffman, 56, was sentenced to 14 days in prison and a $30,000 fine for her role in the scandal, in which rich and famous families funneled cash to fixers in order to get their kids into the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities. The "Desperate Housewives" star will also serve one year of probation and perform 250 hours of community service.
Was the sentencing fair?
"It depends upon the perspective," said Matthew Maddox, a criminal defense attorney based in New Canaan, Conn. "There are several factors that judges consider in sentencing. One of which is specific deterrence. So I think this sentence does the job for specific deterrence in other words, 'What's necessary in order to prevent this person from offending again?' This sentence certainly does that and more."
Then, there's general deterrence. "Does this do something to deter others from engaging in this type of conduct?" asked Maddox. "Is this enough of a penalty to deter or to prevent other people who might be in similar circumstances from engaging in this type of conduct?"
"Then, there's just the idea of retribution. In other words ... 'What does the public need? What does society need to punish this person?' And that's another question here, 'What does the general population think of a sentence like this?'"
Said the lawyer: "The overwhelming number of people who are sending their kids to college can't afford to pay someone $15,000 in order to doctor a SAT. 'What does this do? What message does this send to the general public about the ability of the wealthy to gain an unfair advance in college admissions?'
"I don't know that this sentence really covers that base," he said.
David P. Shapiro, a San Diego, Calif., criminal defense attorney and author of "Facing Charges in San Diego," said that to him, "it appears that the judge granted the defense's request for the 250 hours of community service and sort of split the difference between what the government was asking for, which was 30 days in custody, and what the defense was asking for, which was no time in custody."
He added: "I think ultimately the government and Ms. Huffman, through her attorneys, negotiated a plea deal that everyone was content with and then judge issued a sentence within the plea agreement. It seems pretty fair to me, although quite frankly, a 14-day sentence is going to be more of a burden, I think, on the Bureau of Prisons and the jail system than it will be on Ms. Huffman. Nor would it be seen really as a big act of retribution, since it is only two weeks."
As for why it will be more of a burden on the jail system, Shapiro explained that "someone of that celebrity entering a facility for even such a short period of time, it's a lot to process someone in and process someone out of the facility.
"And it usually takes more than a couple of weeks for that person to get acclimated, and in this instance, it seems like as soon as she will be getting acclimated, she will be processed out, so there is a certain cost associated with that," he noted.
"On the flip side of it, though, I think it certainly sends a message that no matter what your status, no matter how much money you have, if you commit a certain crime and jail is on the table, you should expect to be sentenced to jail whether it's 14 days or whether it's multiple years, which other defendants might wind up getting," Shapiro concluded.
Huffman must self-report to a facility chosen by the federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 25.
Fox News' Chris Kensler contributed to this report