Libby's Commutation: A Total Disrespect for the Rule of Law

The New York Times reports the Scooter Libby commutation may just set off a debate about sentencing in the country.

I hope so. As outraged as I was Monday afternoon when I first heard the news, my anger just has continued to build.

Tuesday afternoon, I was discussing the commutation on Rachel Maddow's Air America radio show. I could hear my voice, filled with anger, rising in pitch as I spoke.

How did I get here? Just last month, when Libby was sentenced, I, too, thought the lower guideline range of 15 to 21 months would be adopted. I would not have been upset if the Judge had departed from the guidelines and imposed a split sentence of 5 months in prison and 5 months on home detention. I even opined that I thought Libby had met the legal test for an appeal bond.

So where is my outrage coming from? It has little to do with Libby and everything to do with Bush, special treatment and the federal sentencing system that applies to everyone else in America.


Every day in my practice I deal with the federal sentencing guidelines and the harshness of mandatory minimum sentences. I practiced for over a decade before the guidelines were enacted in 1987 and I've practiced for two decades since. I spent much of the 1990's unsuccessfully lobbying Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences. I know how unfair the system is.

Monday, before the Libby commutation was announced, I spent the day writing two sentencing briefs for clients. One involved a ten year mandatory minimum sentence for a non-violent offense in which the Judge has no authority to impose a lesser sentence. He can only go higher because the guideline range is higher than the ten year mandatory minimum sentence. Talk about a downer, this was it.

In the other case, I asked for a below-guidelines sentence, now allowed under the Supreme Court's decision in Booker, which rendered the guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. I painstakingly researched the latest cases in the District and across the country, framed and re-framed my argument to put my client's personal history characteristics in their best light, re-read and quoted from almost two dozen heart-felt letters from family members and others asking that my client be spared jail and placed on home detention or probation because of his life-time of good works and lack of prior criminal record and because of how much his family depended on him.

When I was done with both briefs, I felt satisfied. I had put my brain and heart into the briefs and done what I could and now it was up to the Judge. That's how the system works. It's called the law. I may not agree with the guideline sentencing ranges or mandatory minimum sentences and I may disagree with the Probation Department's calculations, but I make my arguments based on the law and the facts and let the Judge decide. If I think the Judge makes the wrong call, I appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals.

After filing my briefs, I went online and learned that just hours after the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that Scooter Libby would have to go to prison while his appeal was pending, President Bush, with the stroke of a pen, wiped out Libby's prison sentence. He didn't reduce it. He eliminated it.

Why? Because in his view, the sentence was too harsh. He thought the Judge calculated Libby's guidelines at too high a level. He thought the Judge should have granted Libby a departure from the guidelines. Because he disagreed, because he is President, because Scooter Libby is in his elite circle, he threw the law out the window. He didn't reduce the sentence to a lesser term of imprisonment. He didn't wait for the Court of Appeals to decide if Judge Walton was right or wrong. He didn't wait for the system to run its course. Instead, because he didn't want Scooter Libby to spend even a single night in prison, he intervened and set Libby free.

He made this decision just weeks after he had the Attorney General send his minions to Congress to argue that every federal offense should carry a mandatory minimum sentence from which a Judge cannot depart. In other words, for every other defendant in America, Bush wants to preclude judges from exercising discretion and require them to sentence according to a mathematical formula. Libby, on the other hand, gets a free pass because the Judge didn't exercise the discretion Bush thinks Judges in other cases ought not to have.

With that one stroke of the pen, Bush trivialized and rendered meaningless the hard work of Judge Walton, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the prosecutors and the probation officer. He told them it didn't matter how much time they spent analyzing the facts or the law or even whether they were right or wrong. He could care less what the law held. He thought differently and that's all that mattered.

For every other defendant, prosecutor, judge and defense lawyer around the country, his action says something more: The law doesn't apply if the defendant has a good enough connection to the President -- and only if the defendant has a connection to the President.

Every other defendant be damned. Their families and children can suffer, their lifetimes of good works can be overlooked. So what if they have medical issues or they committed only a single act of criminal behavior in an otherwise unblemished life? For them, the Guidelines and mandatory minimums will continue to apply and they will be separated from their families and lose their jobs while they wait in prison for the Court of Appeals to rule on whether their judge was right or wrong.

All the while, Bush and his henchman Alberto Gonzales will do everything in their power to lean on Congress to pass more laws reducing the ability of federal judges to use their independent judgment.

My clients and the clients of every other defense lawyer in the country will continue to go to jail and serve sentences that are far harsher and more unfair than the one handed down to Scooter Libby, and they'll just have to play by the rules.

And, that's why I'm so mad.

< Bush, Joe Wilson and Hillary on Scooter Libby Commutation | 4th Of July Open Thread: On Patriotism and Liberty >
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    L'etat, c'est moi (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:34:20 AM EST

    Thirty-two months ago, a young marijuana dealer from Salt Lake City named Weldon Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in prison after a paid informant testified that during three drug transactions Angelos wore a gun on an ankle holster....

    A jury found him guilty of the charges - hardly a surprise, since he'd been caught red-handed selling pot - and on November 16, 2004, the 24-year-old father of three, with ambitions of becoming a rap star, was sentenced to 55 years in prison by judge Paul Cassell.

    But here's the rub: when the judge polled the jury, 11 of its members felt the young dealer should have received five-to-10 years instead of 55. The judge himself also believed the sentence to be absurd.

    Paul Cassell wrote a long opinion explaining that while, legally, he had no choice but to impose the sentence, he nevertheless thought it was cruel, inhumane and irrational. In a bizarre twist, the judge urged Angelos's lawyers appeal the sentence he had just imposed all the way up to the US supreme court, and also petition President Bush for a presidential pardon.

    ...more than 30 months in, Angelos remains an inmate of Lompoc federal penitentiary, a sprawling prison nestled in the hills above Santa Barbara, California. Thousands of repeat offenders in California continue to serve life sentences under that state's "three strikes" law, many for shoplifting, drug possession, petty theft, small-potatoes welfare fraud. All told, over a million non-violent Americans now live in either jails or prisons....

    By my book, Scooter Libby's sentence doesn't fall into this category. With or without the blessing of his political masters, he egregiously abused a position of high seniority within the US political system. He leaked information on a clandestine government operative, arguably putting her life in danger. He obstructed the investigators looking into the leak. He perjured himself repeatedly while under oath.

    For that he received not 55 years in prison, but 30 months. In commuting Libby's sentence, Bush said he recognised the seriousness of the crimes but still felt that Libby and his family had already suffered enough. Apparently, when it comes to criminally-minded high officials who might start ratting out their bosses when faced with a prison stint, public humiliation is punishment enough; anything else is simply unwarranted...

    For years now, Bush and his team have been behaving as if they are not just above the law, but as if the law is whatever they claim it to be. In recognising that Libby committed serious crimes but nevertheless making sure he doesn't spend a day behind bars, Bush has taken it one step further. L'etat, c'est moi, Louis XIV once famously claimed. It's as good a motto as any for these sordid, waning days of the Bush presidency.

    Thanks, that was a great article (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:38:05 AM EST
    Sasha Abramsky is great on these topics.  The Angelos case shows how truly broken the system really is.

    How about that teenager in GA (none / 0) (#26)
    by magster on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:04:33 PM EST
    who had consensual sex with a 15 year old and was sentenced to 10 years in prison as a sex offender.  That's the case that pops into my head.

    Alien (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:05:23 PM EST
    First, let's get the chaff out of the way. I have, as a Social Liberal and Independent, commented time and again that our drug laws are screwed up and need rationalization. IOW - I would make most drugs legal.

    But that has nothing to do with Bush commuting Libby.

    If we take his comment at face value, he felt the punishment did not fit the crime. Personally I do not believe that was the base reason.

    He believes that the prosecution was politically driven and that the SP went off track and decided that he had to get at least one administration scalp. Strangely, it is his association as a Repub that may have driven him to show everyone that he was as pure as Caeser's wife. Imagine the claims the Left would have made if he had not indicted anyone.

    Looking at the number of people who knew, and leaked, and that would include Wilson himself if we believe Armitage in his interview with Wooodward and (ret) Major General Valley in his interview on ABC, I think that is obvious.

    So he took a half measure. The full measure will be a pardon in a little under 18 months.


    Consider the source (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:29:02 PM EST
    Looking at the number of people who knew, and leaked, and that would include Wilson himself if we believe Armitage in his interview with Wooodward

    Of course,there is no reason to believe Armitage, since we already know he is a traitor who leaked Plame's identity, so thank you for pointing out that Wilson has credibility and his critics do not.  In contrast to Armitage, Wilson is a career diplomat who has served with courage and distinction in tough assignments, and his statements have been proven accurate over and over again.

    Funny how all these people who say that "everyone knew" something are reluctant to repeat that accusation under oath.  All Scooter had to do was find ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE to take the stand in his defense, but five million bucks worth of legal talent couldn't find one of those "everybodies."

    That claim has entered the realm of urban legend.  Despite the failure of a well-financed search for verification, you still believe a claim sourced on, "my cousin's boyfriend heard it, so I'm sure it's true."

    Wilson has immense credibility with every patriotic American.  Wilson is obviously eager to testify under oath, having initiated a lawsuit in which he will be a prime witness.  The administration has been caught lying about...well, about everything, and desperately avoids having to say anything under oath.

    Consider the source.


    RePack (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:01:55 PM EST
    Your usual response. Attack the messenger.

    Let me ask you. Just because Clinton lied, should we disbelieve all else he says?

    What a total lack of logic.

    I made no brief for Armitage, I just quoted what he said and said that it should be investigated.

    Woodward: Everyone knows?
    Armitage: Yeah. And they know 'cause Joe Wilson's been calling everybody. He's pissed off 'cause he was designated as a low level guy went out to look at it. So he's all pissed off.

    Don't you want the facts??

    And you disregard Major General Valley's statement.

    Is he also lying??

    As for Wilson.....we know he admitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he may have become confused and misspoke himself...


    The former ambassador said that he may have "misspoken" to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were "forged." He also said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought he had seen the names himself. The former ambassador reiterated that he had been able to collect the names of the government officials which should have been on the documents.


    What else may be have being confused on??


    PPJ attacks the messenger (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:27:03 PM EST
    Classic.  You attack the messenger and then claim it was the other way around.  This is in a nutshell the entire White House strategy of dealing with the truth from Mr. Wilson.  They didn't address what he said, they just ruined his wife's career and destroyed decades of CIA anti-proliferation efforts.

    It's YOUR CLAIM (using Armitage as your source) that "everybody knew" something.  Unfortunately, no one has produced a shred of evidence to back up this claim, despite the millions of dollars spent defending Scooter.

    I think we can safely conclude that if even Scooter Libby's lawyers with an unlimited budget were unable to come up with this mythical creature, the creature does not exist.

    Whether Mr. Wilson or someone else reached the conclusion that the Niger documents were forged, we know that they were in fact forged.  If the administration feels that Joe Wilson lied under oath, they should certainly take him to court and charge him with perjury.  

    Of course, that would require administration witnesses to take the stand under oath also, and we know how terrified they are of that.  I guess Wilson is safe, because there is no one in the administration willing to match credibility with him.

    Wilson told Saddam that if Saddam wanted to hang him, he (Wilson) would supply the rope.  Why would a man with that kind of courage and a lifetime of integrity be worried about the cowardly liars who oppose him?  Wilson is rightly outraged that a traitor in the White House attacked his family because he told the truth.

    Surely you are even more eager than Wilson to see everyone in court and under oath, because the truth is more important to you than smearing Wilson and Plame.

    Wait, I think I just misspoke.


    RePack (1.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 05:55:05 PM EST
    Libby was tried for perjury and obstruction, not leaking.

    So whether or not Amritage was correct never came up.

    But a nice strawman.

    Why are you afraid, RePack? It is a simple question that hasn't been answered.

    Was Armitage and Major General Valley lying??

    Oh yeah! That Major General.

    What's your excuse for his claims? He's lying, too?

    Wow. Everyone is lying except Wilson....


    Its been explained to you several times by several (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:17:21 PM EST
    posters for at least a year now, that the fact that Armitage was a leaker, doesn't preclude prosecution of any other leaker.

    As for your preposturous reading of Armitages statement, you are deliberately misreading it. Re read it. No where does Armitage say Joe Wilson was calling everyone telling them his wife was a covert CIA agent.

    That's not a fair reading of the statement. That is a distorted one. If your reading were correct, why hasn't anyone else come forward and said Joe Wilson called me personally and said his wife is a covert CIA agent.

    A better reading is Joe Wilson, having gong to Niger, and having made an oral report back, knew Bush was lying and he was calling people telling them what he knew. He doesn't have tell people, the CIA asked his wife to have him come in, so they could ask him to go to Niger. He was a former ambassador to Niger, he was a logical person to send, even if Valerie Plame never existed.

    I can't believe you are so obtuse as not to figure this out. I can only conclude you are a Bush partisan.


    lol (3.00 / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 08:21:25 PM EST
    MB - You can not read. (1.00 / 1) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:17:53 AM EST
    Let me make this as simple as possible.

    I understand the claim re multiple leakers. I just think it is BS.

    As for the subject of Wilson's calls, here is the complete in context string.

    Woodward: Well it was Joe Wilson who was sent by the agency, isn't it?
    Armitage: His wife works for the agency.
    Woodward: Why doesn't that come out? Why does that have to be a big secret?
    Armitage: (over) Everybody knows it.
    Woodward: Everyone knows?
    Armitage: Yeah. And they know 'cause Joe Wilson's been calling everybody. He's pissed off 'cause he was designated as a low level guy went out to look at it. So he's all pissed off.
    Woodward: But why would they send him?
    Armitage: Because his wife's an analyst at the agency.
    Woodward: It's still weird.
    Armitage: He -- he's perfect. She -- she, this is what she does. She's a WMD analyst out there.

    If you really want to claim that the calls that Armitage refers to being made by Joe Wilson didn't include information by Wilson about his wife working at the CIA please go right ahead. But if you do I am just going to consider you a 100% partisan Demo or someone totally detached from realty. Or both.

    Armitage didn't say she was covert. I doubt that Wilson said she was. But if she was, as claimed, wouldn't he be in violation?

    Woodward uses the words "Why does that have to be a big secret." That's an interesting choice of words, don't you think?

    Wilson was not a trained intelligence agent. He was never the logical choice to investigate such a sensitive subject. It becomes even more interesting when you consider that there must have been a resident CIA agent in Niger, and Wilson was never made to sign a non-disclosure.

    I have no knowledge if the above has been investigated. Neither do you.


    Several issues (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:17:55 PM EST
    1. Armitage's statements are double hearsay.
    2. Whether or not you believe the point about more than 1 leakers is BS is beside the point. I believe Marijauna laws are BS, but they are in fact the law. Your honor, my client was arrested with a little pot, however, I think Marijuana laws are BS, therefore my client should go free....  You are entitled to believe the law is wrong, you are not entitled to unilaterally change the law to something you like better.
    3.  Where's the proof Joe Wilson called everybody and told them his wife was a covert CIA agent?  Find me three people, who are not movement conservative journalists (Novak, Kristol, etc.)  who will corroborate Armitage's hearsay. Armitage has gotten sued for his trouble, hardly a wise move on Wilson's part if this was true. Moreover, since being sued, it appears Armitage and the General have backtracked on their claims. Not the response of someone sure of their ground.
    4. What training did Wilson need to go question his former contacts? You treat him as though he were a poltical appointee Ambassador. He actually was a career diplomat and was stationed for a long time in Niger with contacts there and knowledge of the uranium trade.

    You are grasping at straws and your GOP partisanship is showing.


    Furthermore (none / 0) (#68)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:17:13 PM EST
    I've read it and re -read it. Its not there. If you are going to continue to claim that the calls that Armitage refers to being made by Joe Wilson did include information by Wilson about his wife working at the CIA please go right ahead. But if you do I am just going to consider you a 100% partisan GOP or someone totally detached from realty. Or both.


    PPJ so SILLY! (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:26:18 PM EST
    Libby was tried for perjury and obstruction, not leaking.

    Obviously news to you, but that was something I already knew.

    Do try to keep up.

    So whether or not Amritage was correct never came up.

    Yet you cite it as though it had.

    Silly you.  But thanks for exposing your own misstatement.  Saved me the trouble.


    RePack - I have given you TWO sources. (none / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:20:16 AM EST
    You can argue Atmitage all you want.

    But why do you ignore the comments of Maj. Gen Valley??


    No. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:06:49 PM EST
    Of course.

    "What else may be have being confused on?? "?????

    --talking to yourself again...


    Sorry.... ":::babbling::: to yourself again: (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:07:51 PM EST
    Just Trust Me (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:40:53 PM EST
    Armitage, considered to be a conservative "neo con" (neo-conservative), is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[1] He is one of the signers of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century PNAC letter to President William Jefferson Clinton.[2] He is also a former board member for CACI International, the private military contractor, which "is being investigated by no less than 5 US agencies for possible contract violations" and "employed four interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison" in Iraq, one of whom was singled out by General Taguba in his report on abuses of Iraqi detainees at the prison.[3]

    "Richard Armitage, one of the Iran-Contra plotters, was a board member of Database Technologies (DBT)/ChoicePoint Inc before taking office under George Bush Jr. ... Choicepoint is a partner of data mining company SAIC whose web site proclaims it has "developed a strategic alliance with ChoicePoint Incorporated to provide our clients with quick and effortless information retrieval from public records data. ChoicePoint Incorporated maintains thousands of gigabytes of public records data.""[5]

    "Armitage, who was denied a 1989 appointment as Assistant Secretary of State because of links to Iran-Contra and other scandals, served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan years. U.S. Government stipulations in the Oliver North trial specifically named Armitage as one of the DoD officials responsible for illegal transfers of weapons to Iran and the Contras." [7]


    No partisan gunslinger my arse. Novack is about as trustworthy as, well Armitage.


    squeaky (1.00 / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 05:57:37 PM EST
    So, what's your excuse for Major Gen Valley??

    Is he also lying??

    Why not just call all these guys, including Wilson, in front of Congress and ask the questions???

    Why are you afraid of the truth??


    By all means call them to the witness stand (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:18:43 PM EST
    Should be fun. I do want to see your face, when your pet theory falls apart though.


    MB - I'm funny this way (none / 0) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:23:34 AM EST
    I never become upset when I see the truth.

    That's what makes me an Independent.

    So when Armitage says he lied, and when Maj. General  Valley says he lied...

    Well, let me know. I don't want to miss that.


    They don't have to admit to lying for you to be (none / 0) (#66)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 03:29:19 PM EST
    wrong. They only have to point out what  I keep pointing out to you: They never claimed Joe Wilson outed his wife. You consistently misinterpret the reported conversation to that effect. Its not a fair reading of the citation you keep showing us.


    From the guy who (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:19:14 PM EST
    wont even admit CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere.

    It's what makes him an independent.


    It is important to make the inference ... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by chemoelectric on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 02:13:26 AM EST
    It is important to make the inference that Bush is lying about his reason for commuting Libby's sentence, because it is much worse than disrespect for the system of justice, and isn't really related to the sentencing issue (even though I welcome a debate on it). Bush is commuting Libby's sentence, to eliminate any prison time, so that Libby will not be tempted to repent and start telling the truth to Patrick Fitzgerald. That is, Bush is not showing mercy, he is covering up a crime--his own crime. His many crimes, in fact.

    (BTW we still don't know what happened to the investigation as to who mailed that US government anthrax at just the right time for ramming through that 'PATRIOT' Act. Is it possible we could get some insight into that problem while investigating the Libby commutation? Stranger things have happened.)

    The other night, after reading TL's note that (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by scribe on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:00:24 AM EST
    she'd spent the whole day writing sentencing briefs only to find The Unit and Deadeye had communted Libby's sentence, I was also p*ssed.  It had started when I first saw the news, and the insouciant arrogance the Admin expressed and the way the MSM tried really, really hard to bury the story (the all-news radio station had it seventh on their report, after the traffic and the wacko attacking the tame peacock) just turned up the heat.  As I sometimes do to get through it, I tossed off some verbiage - more to keep my brief-writing skills sharp than anything else, for use in a brief.  Not that it'd ever make it.  Here's what I wrote:

    While Rita stated the presumption that a within-guidelines sentence is reasonable, it is beyond cavil (and a proper subject of judicial notice, F.R.Evid. 201FN1) that when the President of the United States decides a within-guidelines sentence is too harsh and excessiveFN2, this Court should follow his lead.  Any distinction one might make between defendants can only redound to the benefit of this defendant.  While this defendant had the benefit of private counsel, he/she did not have the benefit of multimillionaires taking charge of the airwaves to plead his/her case to the public at large, nor did this defendant have the benefit of loyal friends in high places.  The loyal friends this defendant lacked were not only able to influence persons in high places, but were more than willing to do so and, judging from the results, took the time and effort to make it happen.  Not only did this defendant not have those loyal friends in high places, but this defendant did not have the millions of dollars with which to defend himself.

    If this court is to be taken seriously, then it must dispense equal justice to both rich and poor, to those with friends in high places and without them, to those having millions at their disposal (and persons willing to augment those millions) and those without.  This Court must exercise judicial modesty, not activism.  The exercise of judicial modesty is marked by deference to the guidance and example provided by the "political" branches and their wisdom in not only drafting the laws, but in taking care that they be faithfully executed.  This ineluctably leads to only one conclusion:  that this Court must recognize and accept that the Chief Magistrate of this country, in the exercise not only of his plenary power to commute, but also in the exercise and service of his sworn duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed (U.S. Const. art. II), has deemed, notwithstanding Rita, that within-Guideline sentences for non-violent offenders are too harsh, too excessive, too long, and that imprisonment should be avoided for such non-violent offenders at every opportunity.  Equal justice under law requires this Court to sentence this defendant without any incarceration.

    You may want to throw in some lines about "destroying a family" or the "pain and embarrassment to his family", "loss of profession" or whatever else fits both your defendants and The Unit's statement.  Ram it in their faces.

    "Equal justice under law" being the inscription on the pediment of the Supreme Court....

    FN1 I think that's the right rule.  I'm writing this off-the-cuff.

    FN2 Quote his exact phraseology here.

    The "loyal friends in high places" imagery could use a little sharpening as it's a bit awkward now, and some footnotes about how many millions and Pontificating Tucker and his Daddy being wrapped up in the fundraising would definitely fit right in.  But, for dashing it off in 20 minutes, I'm ok with it.

    This also exemplifies a reason I get a lot of "go along with the program, please" looks and hints from judges.

    I'm curious, scribe (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 10:30:29 PM EST
    I don't recall if you've talked about it here before, but what is your practice area?

    I haven't talked about it (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:21:48 AM EST
    but it's mostly civil, mostly litigation, and I've written bales of briefs on practically every topic there is.

    Thanks, scribe (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:21:05 AM EST
    I hesitated to ask because I didn't want you outing yourself with enough info for someone to connect dots.

    Giuliani Flip Flops again (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 05:27:30 PM EST
    MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI, New York: Well, I'm shocked that the President of the United States would pardon him. After all, he never paid a price......


    Wow, that deserves it's own post (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:43:11 PM EST
    I'll try to do it tomorrow

    MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI, New York: Well, I'm shocked that the President of the United States would pardon him. After all, he never paid a price. He got on an airplane, took all his records, and ran off to Zug, Switzerland, where he's remained a fugitive, and has made untold efforts to try to get the charges reduced, including many, many overtures and entreaties based on the use of influence.

    Just remember who represented Marc Rich (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:22:56 AM EST
    when seeking that pardon.

    Scooter Libby.


    scribe (none / 0) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:46:21 AM EST
    And your point is??

    That you're so dense or (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 03:22:09 PM EST
    brainwashed that you need to be told what the point of my comment was.

    a new leaf? (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Sumner on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 10:58:58 PM EST
    Our criminal justice system is insane, it is psychotic and built on lies, designed to grow budgets.

    Perhaps the new mercy is a proof-of-concept.

    Hmm (1.00 / 4) (#6)
    by jarober on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:56:30 AM EST
    The Left has now reached the same special place of insanity that the Clinton haters reached in the late 90's - as they dreamt up fantasies of Cocaine at Mena airport and dark plots that supposedly killed Vince Foster, so the left today imagines that Scooter Libby was involved in nefarious plots, and that Dick Cheney personally wields rubber truncheons.

    You guys need to look in a mirror - what you'll see is the mirror image of the people who wrote all of those articles for the "American Spectator" back then.

    Sure J... (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by TomStewart on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 02:07:30 AM EST
    The left has such a hatred of Bush, that they insist he act with responsibility and the oversight of Congress (something our founding fathers insisted on). Shame on us for holding Mr. Bush (and his lackey Scooter) to a higher standard than that that is applied to the lowest drug dealer, that of the judicial process.

    Bush says he respects the jury (at least until he pardons Scooter) it's really judges he has contempt for. He believes his judgment is better than that of the judge he appointed. So it's mandatory time for all federal crimes...except for those involing someone who knows the president.



    Incorrect- hugh difference. (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:07:51 AM EST
    As you point out, the American Spectator made things up such as the
    Cocaine at Mena airport and dark plots that supposedly killed Vince Foster
    to blacken President Clinton's name. Any thing went so long as it might keep the Clinton administration off balance and keep them on the definsive, rather than tending to the people's business.

    The false call to war in Iraq actually happened with Cheney's and GWB's full participation.

    Abu Ghraib happend. It happend after the torture memos, some written by Addington. It happend with the approval of the oval office. So yes they bear personal responsibility- that concept the right has always called upon others to take, but never wants to take  or will take for their own actions- they bear personal responsibility just as if they "personally wielded" rubber truncheons

    The attack on the rule of law happened. Signing statement attempts at changing legislation in contravention of the concept of separation of powers has happened.  They claiming of  authority to detain American citizens as enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the president's say-so alone, (Hamdi) happened. The assertion of presidential power to create military commissions, combining the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes (Hamden) happened.

    Scooter Libby's low friends in high places getting him out of jail, while others similarly situtated go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 as JM detailed above, happened.

    I can accept those who can afford the best lawyers often do better in court.  I cannot accept the powerful getting off because of their corrupt masters see to it, to save their own skins. Yet that happened.

    Do you see the difference between "Clinton haters" on the right and "Bush haters on the left"?

    The right hated President Clinton and made things up- bore false witness-  until they finally found a two bit National Enquirer misdeamnor scandal to exercise the impeachment clause, because they would not accept President Clinton's election.

    The left "hates" Bush/Cheney for real High Crimes and Misdeamnors and affronts to our Consitution, the rule of law and it does go back to the begininng with the hijacking of an election by the felonious five on the Supreme Court, after the GOP used caging and other methods to suppress Democratic turnout in a close election. That too was an affront to the Constitution, the rule of law and our democracy. With the hijacking of the 2000 election and the aftermath, the right has changed America and not for the better.


    Yawning and scratching myself (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:16:38 AM EST
    Alrighty then.......next

    Pathetic (4.75 / 4) (#15)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:02:17 AM EST
    Address the issue or stuff it.  Bush just sent Gonzales to argue that all these federal crimes SHOULD be beholden to mandatory minimums, then lets his boy off the hook because...well, we'll never really know.  But the notion Bush did it because the sentence was too harsh...bullsh*t.  If that were so, Bush would be commuting sentences right and left for others.  Why isn't he?  

    Because he is full of sh*t, a wretched hypocrite, a corrupt thief.  And all you can do is point fingers at everyone else.  As if the judge and jury in this case just mean nothing.

    Bring some intellectual game or find some pine.  The fact you can even dredge up the Clinton crap is astounding.  Face reality here.  Or is it too hard for you?

    Look in the mirror is hilarious since you won't even engage in what you EXPECT others to.

    Play devil's advocate with your own thinking.

    Act like a free American with an evolved mind.

    Clinton, my God.  How pathetic of you.

    Yes, please, stay flip and ignorant and as unserious an intellect as you can.

    Libby was convicted of Perjury and obstruction of justice.  The REPUBLICAN prosecutor said because of his actions we will NEVER know the true story of criminality here.  And Bush just...pooof, lets him go.  Right, Jarober, that's just something nobody should worry about.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#34)
    by dead dancer on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:08:49 PM EST
    Regardless of what the crime was, or the seriousness of said crime; the man was convicted of PERJURY. A man who works for one of the most powerful men in the world was lying under oath.


    Personally, I think jail is an extremely harsh sentence for perjury; but that is the standard.


    Lessons from Prison - What Can Libby Learn? (none / 0) (#3)
    by ChuckGallagher on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:43:59 AM EST
    Mr. Libby avoided prison for crimes far greater than mine...for which I spent time in prison. However, looking back it was the best thing that ever happened to me. As stated in the book "Serving Time - Serving Others" - Prisons are places in which real changes can occur, primarily because they are places void of most worldly distractions. I found this to be the case as today I am the founder of the Choices Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes presentations to young people about Choices and the Consequences that follow. I won't replicate my prison experience - I got it - but do find that sharing with others brings meaning from what was, otherwise, a difficult time. www.chuckgallagher.com

    With his new found freedom...wonder if Mr. Libby will have gained any valuable insight? Wonder if the loss of the opportunity to learn serves any valuable purpose? Let's hope that something good will come from this action.

    Bush has peeved me to no end (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:50:12 AM EST
    from the life and space I inhabit right now.  There are no rules for him.  There are no rules of engagement for him, there is no Geneva Convention for him, and now there is no rule of law for him.  There is no liberty and justice for all in this country this morning, thirtysome minutes into Independence Day 2007.  I remember the headline in France on September 12th that read We Are All Americans Now and a fitting headline for today without some sort of equal liberty and equal justice for American civilians seems to be We Are All Conscripted Now.

    Misplaced anger (none / 0) (#10)
    by manys on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 03:38:50 AM EST
    I don't know why people are saying "President This" and "Bush That," when it's obvious this is Cheney's hand. Nobody should even countenance Bush on this issue. I have no doubt he was completely uninvolved. This is Cheney letting his boy off the hook and the more his name is spoken and associated with this the more honest people will be.

    Cheney may be an evil influence (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 08:21:45 AM EST
    He may be Rasputin, but George W. Bush bears just as much responsibilty. GWB made Cheny VP. He didn't have to. He gave Cheney the power Cheney sought. He didn't have to, it was not consitutionally mandated. GWB could rein Cheney in, if wanted to.

    Whatever evil Cheney does as VP, Bush is as responsible as Cheney.


    I find your anger misplaced (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 07:29:26 AM EST
    Cheney didn't commute Scooter Libby's sentence.

    Well, technically no. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 08:18:21 AM EST
    But he was the ventriloquist. Charlie McCarthy pardoned Libby. ;-)

    I have precious little to hang my (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:27:39 AM EST
    hat on but the few facts granted me ;)  I have no idea where I'm going to put my scivvies these days ;)

    Really good post, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:50:44 AM EST

    WSWS on government criminality (none / 0) (#7)
    by Andreas on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:58:52 AM EST
    The decision of the Bush White House to commute the jail sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is a telling demonstration of both the criminal character of the US government and the inequality that pervades American society. ...

    ... in an unanticipated turn of events, the defense abruptly rested its case without calling Cheney, Rove or Libby himself to the witness stand. It was clear that Libby and his lawyers had decided virtually to concede guilt rather than pursue the line of defense they had laid out at the trial's opening.

    It was more than an educated guess, widely discussed in the media at the time, that Libby had been given assurances that Bush would intervene to prevent him spending any time in prison. The decision to issue a presidential order wiping out Libby's jail term was the legal equivalent of hush money, designed to buy Libby's silence on the crimes of the Bush White House and Cheney's office, in which Libby himself played a central role. ...

    The commutation of Libby's sentence provides one more confirmation that this government considers itself entirely above the law and operates more along the lines of a crime family than a democratic and constitutional administration.

    The freeing of Lewis Libby: Government criminality and the class nature of American "justice"
    By Bill Van Auken, 4 July 2007

    hmm (none / 0) (#19)
    by jarober on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:41:34 AM EST
    When you guys care as much about Clinton pardoning (fully) FALN bombers as you do about this non-event, wake me.

    And how did that (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:57:57 AM EST
    disrespect the rule of law or cover up executive branch crimes. Try to compare apples to apples.


    MB - Have you forgotten?? (1.00 / 1) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:35:07 AM EST
    It is claimed that Clinton did it to get the PR vote for Hillary.

    The commutation was opposed by U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and criticized by many including former victims of FALN terrorist activities, the Fraternal Order of Police,[4] members of Congress, and Hillary Clinton in her campaign for Senator.[5] Congress condemned the action, with a vote of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House.[6][7] The U.S. House Committee on Government Reform held an investigation on the matter, but the Justice Department prevented FBI officials from testifying.[8] President Clinton cited executive privilege for his refusal to turn over some documents to Congress related to his decision to offer clemency to members of the FALN terrorist group.

    I am sure you won't mind if the Bush DOJ refuse to cooperate with Congress re Libby..and surely you will agree that Bush can use EP....

    No double standards, right??



    What crime did it cover up? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:30:25 PM EST
    Agree or disagree with President's Clinton's pardon choices, I don't care.  I will stipulate without checking the actual merits of any that they were poor choices. Feel better?

    None of the people pardoned by President Clinton were in the position of going to jail AND had any capability to testify against President Clinton in a criminal case (or any case for that matter).

    Libby, facing jail, was in a position to testify against Bush and Cheney. Libby, after a visit with the Bush and Cheney,  suddenly abandoned any pretense of a vigorious defense at his trial.

    Bush said that, if anyone leaked in his administration, he would take care of them and now we know what he meant.

    There is no comparison between the two situations. Its laughable. Its apples and oranges. You are clearly one toke over the line.


    Pertect Strategy (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:59:38 PM EST
    Appeal jail up to the last minute before the fine is due which happens to be the day before Independence Day, lose the appeal of bail and get commuted in the same day.

    Barbecue, Fireworks.

    Can still take the fifth, and will be pardoned in the months just after the nov 08 election.

    He is suffering because he wants to tell the truth.....NOT.


    Sailor's Law (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Sailor on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 02:53:01 PM EST
    Sailor's Law: The index of desperation of the wrongwingers is the square of the number of times they invoke clinton or kennedy.

    If the past six years hasn't woken you... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 10:06:20 AM EST
    ...nothing can.

    There is nothing to wake.


    What FALN Bombers? (none / 0) (#25)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 11:13:28 AM EST
    None of the 16 were convicted of bombings or any crime which injured another person.

    All of the 16 had served 19 years or longer in prison


    ding7777 - Wrong (none / 0) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:02:23 PM EST
    On August 11, 1999, Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States mostly in New York City and Chicago, convicted for conspiracies to commit robbery, bomb-making, and sedition, as well as for firearms and explosives violations.[3] None of the 16 were convicted of bombings or any crime which injured another person, though they were sentenced with terms ranging from 35 to 105 years in prison for the conviction of conspiracy and sedition. Congress, however, recognizes that the FALN is responsible for "6 deaths and the permanent maiming of dozens of others, including law enforcement officials

    reading comprehension (none / 0) (#53)
    by Sailor on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 11:27:13 PM EST
    Ding was of course correct:
    None of the 16 were convicted of bombings or any crime which injured another person.

    then someone babbled:

    Congress, however, recognizes

    Ding was correct. THEY WEREN'T CONVICTED.

    Congress can say whatever they want, but this country has a judicial system, laid down by the Constitution, that actually requires folks to be convicted in a court of law.


    I seem to recall (none / 0) (#70)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:26:59 PM EST
    some font of hypocrisy lecturing everyone the other day about not persecuting people based strictly on their affiliations..

    They served thier sentense. (none / 0) (#30)
    by TomStewart on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:04:55 PM EST
    The FALN members had already served the same amount of time that most people convicted of simular crimes had served. Libby never served a day and never will.

    But this isn't about Bill Clinton, and the indefensible pardons he gave out, this is about Scooter, and if you can't possible stick to the topic, why don't you join the celebration dance of the freepers?


    Who was less craven? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Semanticleo on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 10:24:53 AM EST

    Just a question;

    Which Prez did the right thing?

    Bush1 who pardoned Reagan's Arms/ Coke dealers
    negotiating with the Ayatollah BEFORE the dirty facts became public knowledge through a trial,
    Or GWB who allowed the american public to see the evidence, conviction and sentencing of Libby before issuing his Get Out of Jail Free card.

    You decide.

    I'd rather have (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 10:49:59 AM EST
    seen the evidence, conviction and sentencing of the people Libby's lies protected from conviction and sentencing.

    What did you leave out (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:06:59 PM EST
    oh,  yes... Clinton!!

    Still wanna play??


    that's all they ever have (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Sailor on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 02:55:12 PM EST
    Sailor's Law: The index of desperation of the wrongwingers is the square of the number of times they invoke clinton or kennedy.

    p.s. adults don't use the excuse 'but he did it too.'
    It is one of the standard logical fallacies, AKA 2 wrongs don't make a right.


    Can you imagine high school (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 05:04:19 PM EST
    if the "he did it too" argument was valid and made the questioned behavior perfectly acceptable?  Wow, how about college?  I knew I should have been a winger!

    Tracy (1.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:07:20 PM EST
    Uh, this isn't highschool, but you convince me from time to you are still there.

    This is politics. And if the Demos want to beat up Bush, great.

    But others have the right to remind the world of the sins of the Clintons. Which were considerable.


    Clinton was not a saint... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by TomStewart on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 06:36:31 PM EST
    but this isn't about Bill, this is about George and scootie patootie. If you want to talk about Bill, write a diary.

    Again, 'But what about Bill?' is not a defense for the abuses under George.


    TomS (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:45:15 AM EST
    Uh, perhaps you are having problems understanding.

    I didn't say that it was unfair to citicize Bush.

    I just said that is politics.

    So it isn't unfair to criticize Clinton.


    Jim (none / 0) (#64)
    by TomStewart on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:05:46 PM EST
    I never said it wasn't unfair to take Clinton to task. His pardon of Rich was ill-considered and stupid. I said that 'he did it also' is not an excuse, and that it was off topic. Which it is.

    Less Craven? (none / 0) (#60)
    by Sailor on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:24:46 AM EST
    Wasn't he the director of all those slasher flicks? ... oops, nevermind;-)

    "Total (none / 0) (#73)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:58:47 AM EST
    disrespect for the law."

    That sums up W.

    And he got clean away.

    Scott free.