Sundown Parole for Spy Suspects

Bump and Update: All ten pleaded guilty. They will be on a plane to Russia, probably by sundown. Their plea agreements are here. I only read the one for Vicky Pelaez. She agreed to forfeit her home, any proceeds from her story and never to return to the U.S. Some reports say some of the children of the ten have already left for Russia.

Back the '70's, here in the Wild West, defense lawyers would try to get prosecutors to agree to what we called "sundown parole" -- let our client plead guilty with no jail, he'll be out of Colorado voluntarily by midnight, never to return. Sometimes it worked.

Sounds like that's the deal in the Russian spy cases -- a guilty plea with immediate sentencing to no prison and instant removal from the U.S. [More...]

It's a good deal for some, and it would be nice if this case set a precedent for similar deals in other kinds of cases, but I doubt it will.

The defendants will appear in court this afternoon and I'll update with new details.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Odd to look to "Wild West"... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:16:45 PM EST
    style criminal justice as a more humane criminal justice...but it is where we're at.  How sad is that?  How we've actually regressed in some respects.

    What precipitated original arrests? (none / 0) (#2)
    by denise k on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 06:31:11 PM EST
    I heard someone comment at the time of the original arrests that some external event caused the Feds to move in to arrest these people.  Any idea what happened to bring that about?  

    "For the greater good and ..." (none / 0) (#3)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:10:19 PM EST

    I have been in many a bar, on many a bridge, as well as in the ward room as discussions of why the h*** did we do that, or why let them go, or why back off were beat to death.

    Many a time it came down to the old expression that you will find in many variations.
    "For the great good"
    "For the greater good and glory, "
    " ...

    Many times it was just expediency.

    In this case, I see on the one hand at least 4 prisoners in Russia, most of which have served long periods already, and some are in bad health.

    I see in America, 10 so-so spies, that in time may have been a problem. They were looking to be, but just hadn't made the right contact yet, and hadn't been given the dangerous order yet.  It was expensive for the Russians to run the network, and expensive for the US to watch them.

    Changing these people out, exchanging them and reducing tensions, and finally giving relief to some good people, I believe is "for the greater good."  I am happy for the men leaving Russia.  Russia can be a bad place to be.

    Why does Mr. Polanski contest the (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 09:20:24 PM EST
    the proposed condition he surrender his U.S. passport and voluntarily deport himself to France?

    Ah, that would be the Catholic church's policy (none / 0) (#6)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:15:06 PM EST
    for dealing with pedophile priests, too: Move 'em to another parish.  Didn't solve the problem in those cases, but it may be the best move in this case to move these people to another country and right out of ours.

    And Gerald's point re the swap -- not just a move but a swap -- is especially persuasive.