Sensenbrenner's Questionable Ethics
Jim Sensenbrenner is one of the most arrogant members of Congress, as demonstrated by his continuing belief that he knows more about the appropriate sentence to impose in drug cases than the judges who make those decisions. His attempts to impose mandatory minimum sentences on judges are bad enough, but when can't get his way legislatively, he tries to interfere with judicial decisions. Sensenbrenner must have been absent from his Constitutional Law class they day his professor explained the concept of separation of powers.
Sensenbrenner sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals "demanding the court overturn a decision affirming a 97-month prison term for Lissett Rivera and impose a 120-month term." His antics provoked a complaint to the Office of Lawyer Regulation. The complaint alleges that Sensenbrenner communicated with a judge about a pending case without sharing the communication with all parties in the case.
Sensenbrenner's letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, which prosecuted the case, but was not sent to Steve Shobat, the drug courier's attorney.
Sensenbrenner's Wisconsin law license is in "inactive" status -- a designation that allows him to avoid continuing legal education requirements so long as he doesn't practice law. It's doubtful that the Office of Lawyer Regulation will do more than issue a private caution to Sensenbrenner, and just as unlikely that the House ethics committee will take serious action on a similar complaint. Still, it's good to see that Sensenbrenner's arrogant stunt hasn't escaped notice.
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