Gov. Ryan Ordered to Report to Prison Nov. 7
Bump and Update: Gov. Ryan has been ordered to report to prison November 7.
Gov. George Ryan: Supreme Court is His Last Chance
Former Illinios Governor George Ryan lost his federal appeal yesterday, seeking to overturn his conviction and 6 1/2 year jail sentence on corruption charges.
His last hope is the Supreme Court. The 7th Circuit vote was 6 to 3, with Judge Richard Posner writing a stinging dissent. Mostly, they criticized the length of the trial and blamed the trial judge for not exercising more control over the proceedings.
"We agree with the panel majority that the evidence of the defendants' guilt was overwhelming," Posner wrote with Judges Ann Claire Williams and Michael Kanne. "But guilt no matter how clearly established cannot cancel a criminal defendant's right to a trial that meets minimum standards of procedural justice."
The dissent warned that marathon trials scare off many competent jurors. Those left become overwhelmed by the vast amount of evidence, they wrote. "The longer the trial, the less likely the jury is to be able to render an intelligent verdict," the opinion said.
Why did this one [last so long]? What was special about it? The prominence of defendant Ryan? That is not a proper reason in a legal system that aspires to equal justice for all.'
In what could be a message to other judges contemplating mega-trials, they wrote "jurors are more likely to become "bored, impatient, irritated" and to disobey the judge's instructions."
They do have a point. Phil Spector's trial, which took four months, is a recent one I can think of that went on way too long.
Ryan didn't directly raise the length of his trial in his appeal. I thought his strongest argument was this one:
While the jury was deliberating, the Tribune reported that two jurors had concealed their arrest records -- information they should have revealed to the court months earlier during jury selection.
After conducting her own investigation, Pallmeyer removed the jurors and replaced them with alternates, starting deliberations anew.
As it turned out, one of the jurors who was removed had been holding out against convicting Ryan.
If the Supreme Court doesn't take his case, Gov. Ryan will report to the federal prison at DeLuth, MN, unless he is successful in having it changed to Oxford, WI.
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