Ex-Gov. McDonnell Sentenced to 2 Years, Gov't. Sought 10-12

Former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison today. Probation recommended, and prosecutors sought a 10 to 12 year sentence, in accordance with the guidelines.

Good lawyering by the defense team. The sentencing guidelines are not mandatory and there is not even a presumption that they represent the correct sentence. They are only the starting point in the judge's consideration, and the judge here appropriately exercised his discretion.

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    As much as I detest political corruption ... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jan 06, 2015 at 08:51:49 PM EST
    ... of the type engaged in by the McDonnells, and on a visceral level would like to see them both locked away for a good long while, the sentence handed down to the disgraced former Virginia governor today was entirely fair and appropriate.

    Bob McDonnell truly deserves the prison time he's getting, because he and his wife basically offered for sale both his services as Virginia governor and special access to his administration, to those who are willing to pay the price to get what they want. Such knowing and willful violations of the public trust simply cannot be tolerated at any level of government in a representative democracy.

    But there's really no need to be overly punitive. This should be about former Gov. McDonnell and the First Lady and what they did, and not about society and our desire for vengeance. And in that, I agree with you that the judge assessed the nature of the offense correctly and got the sentance right.

    Hope springs eternal, in that the McDonnells' very public fall and subsequent fate as a result of their transgressions will perhaps deter future public servants and their relations from temptation to likewise peddle their influence for personal gain, in obvious violation of an elected official's oath to be a good steward of the public domain during his or her time in office.


    The perception is that our trial courts (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 06, 2015 at 09:41:51 PM EST
    sometimes afford leniency to an educated Caucasian but may not afford the same leniency to a minority defendant. Given an elected Governor abused the office for his oersonal gain, this is the wrong message.

    Apples and oranges, oculus. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:05:20 PM EST
    Sentencing in each case should be considered on its own merits, rather than be compared to others.

    While I agree with your concerns about the disparity in sentences between minority and white defendants, the answer is to address the sentencing issues regarding defendants of color, rather than simply increasing the sentences of caucasians.



    This judge vastly decreased the sentence (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:44:52 PM EST
    recommended by the probation officer. Very unusual.

    I accept your contention that it was ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 03:00:59 PM EST
    ... out of the ordinary for a judge to pointedly ignore the sentencing recommendation from a probation officer. But that said, it was merely a recommendation, a suggested guideline which the judge was not legally bound to follow.

    Jeralyn has a considerable amount of experience in this realm, and she'd obviously have a much better understanding than I ever would regarding what factors the judge might have considered, before determining and passing sentence upon Bob McDonnell. I tend to defer to her observations and judgment in these matters.

    But given that the former governor's sentencing was solely within that judge's discretion, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt here, and I will not speculate whether the defendant's race had anything to do with his 2-year sentence being much lighter than the 6-8 year recommendation.

    Further, I would offer that the obvious racial disparities in prison / jail sentences are the end results of some pervasive flaw in present standing policy, such as a lack of some standard which a judge is obliged to follow. But short of imposing more mandatory minimums to limit a judge's discretion, which I oppose, I can't offhand see how we can fix it legislatively, other than impose sanctions on bad actors.

    Clearly, both the White House and the U.S. Senate obviously need to do a better job at vetting prospective nominees to the federal bench, and make a better effort to identify potential personality flaws like racism, ethnocentrism, misogyny and sexism, homophobia, etc., before these nominees are ever confirmed and seated for what is otherwise a lifetime appointment.  

    Further, other underlying problems likely need to be identified and addressed by either Congress or the Supreme Court. (Considering the present make-up of both, I'm not going to hold my breath for that to happen.) But the issue of racial disparity at sentencing will never be resolved on a case-by-case by individual judges on their own.



    Point of reference (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:07:58 PM EST
    (2000 sentencing by a federal judge of state court trial judges and a prominent attorney; federal mandatory minumums in effect):



    If you want to put it into more perspective, (none / 0) (#36)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 06:27:07 AM EST
    two years ago, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years for the sleazy behavior he was nailed for by USA Barbara McQuade.

    According to an agent on the case, [a primary source] what they actually suspected him of was complicity in the theft of hundreds of millions from the city and taxpayers of Detroit.  The actual number was so high I hesitate to repeat it, it seems so crazy, an estimated 750 million dollars steered into various coffers, hidey holes, and pockets.  Just last month two or three more of his scuzzball cronies were convicted of facilitating city pension scams.

    At this point I don't give a rip how many rivers of crocodile tears these "repentant" politicians can cry.

    I've got more sympathy for street criminals, who for whatever reason actually need to do what they do.


    And that's why we ignore or excuse it at our own peril. It's true that most corruption is often of the petty variety. But in extreme cases, it can have a truly disastrous effect upon the surrounding society if it's not brought to heel.

    An extreme example of that is the late President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (Congo), who looted his own once-prosperous country of perhaps as much as $25 billion. It's not at all a stretch to blame his misrule and embezzlement for the horrific circumstances facing the Congolese people today, having suffered nearly ten million dead in a civil war that's seemingly without end.

    In our own country, the infamous Crédit Mobilier of America Congressional bribery scandal of 1868-72 -- during which outright graft and corruption served to relieve the U.S. Treasury of nearly 20% of its existing liquid assets -- helped plunge the United States into what was at the time its worst economic depression in its history.

    And of course, there's Watergate, the corrosive effects of which still reverberate across our national politics, four-plus decades ex post facto.



    Well if He Was a Congressperson... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:43:27 AM EST
    ...he wouldn't be doing any time as Williams would be just another lobbyist do his job.

    My point, it's pretty hard to argue the sentence was just when other government officials are free to accept all kinds of 'gifts' from people who need favors.  I guess the McDonnell's should have just accepted a golf outing in Scotland instead of a watch.

    There is even a government official in the White House who burned through nearly a billion dollars of other people's money to keep his job.  But good idea, better toss this guy and his wife in prison for $165k, because that's corruption, and the billion was pure donation, and has had no effect on how Wall Street is being regulated.

    Not saying he shouldn't be in jail, just that the same standard he is being held to doesn't apply to the folks in Washington DC.


    Similar situations should be treated (none / 0) (#4)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 09:08:30 AM EST
    similarly ... I agree.  Although one should also add that the taking of action to bring some justice in some situations (read: McDonnell) is better than ignoring most/all legally unethical & allegedly illegal political antics. Also: Telling the officer who stops you for speeding on the road "but, officer, that other guy(s) did it too" never works.

    That Doesn't Make Sense (none / 0) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 02:48:11 PM EST
    ...your analogy assumes that it's illegal for everyone to speed, in this case I am saying the same behavior is illegal for some and not others.

    I think you would have a strong case if you are tickets for something that is legal for others.  14th Amendment.

    Obviously what he did isn't them same, but the results were, he got something of value for special treatment, which is exactly what lobbyists do.


    Yes, you are correct in that (none / 0) (#30)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 06:00:08 PM EST
    I did not state my assumption that the word "speeding" meant operating one's vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit.  Further, my point--in that case--is that, while it may seem unfair and wrong, that one person is caught/ticketed/etc. and others are not does not mitigate the wrong of the one who is caught.

    I'm guessing that our perspectives differ on this one.  Of course, it would be nice to address all who violate the law at all different levels ... but, as one who worked in enforcement of environmental laws, I learned quickly that the resources in the several areas only go so far.  (And, btw, those administrations who want to lessen enforcement in certain areas often do that by cutting the particular programs' budget ... whether federal or state.  See Reagan's EPA approach as an example of an attempt to diminish enforcement against major environmental violators.)  My experience differs; ergo, my view about "enforcement" probably is filtered differently as well.


    ... was that there was a direct quid pro quo involved here, in that they both derived immediate and clearly discernible personal benefits, i.e., Williams footing the bill for the daughter's wedding, in exchange for the governor's favors.

    Influence peddling at all levels of government has always been a very thorny and complex issue. Absent the presence of a clearly definable and understandable quid pro quo, the crime of public corruption is quite difficult to prove in a court of law. How one or more individuals might view a particular official's actions, within the context of the latter's proscribed job description, is generally open to subjective interpretation -- literally a white collar Rashomon.

    When pursuing public corruption cases, prosecutors generally have to see and amass an overwhelming amount of evidence before they'll even consider seeking an indictment and taking it to trial. Even in the McDonnells' case, the evidence against them was almost all circumstantial. It was the sheer volume of it that ultimately did them in.

    I've worked on both sides of governmental process, and am presently a registered lobbyist myself at both state and federal levels. I'm very acutely aware at all times of whatever it is I do in my interaction with elected and appointed officials. And there have been times when I've cautioned others who I felt were pushing boundaries of ethical propriety.

    Some have listened appreciatively to my advice, while others have pointedly ignored me -- including a former boss, who then ridiculed me in front of colleagues as a goody-two-shoes. (And that's why I don't work for him any more, and am on my own.)



    I Would Say... (none / 0) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 04:19:46 PM EST
    ...and obviously not from any sort of legal stand point, but this:
    Absent the presence of a clearly definable and understandable quid pro quo, the crime of public corruption is quite difficult to prove in a court of law.
    Should be a no brainer to prove if the votes are always what the contributor is expecting/wanting.  And let's be honest, lobbyists are buying votes, plain and simple, if the dollars were removed, lobbyists would not be needed as anyone can contribute or try and influence their elected officials.

    I get what you are saying and legally things might be different, but the result is the same, something for something, aka, quid pro quo.


    Well... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 04:30:47 PM EST
    A) Governors don't vote.

    B) Governors can provide some quo for the quid that has nothing to do with the legislative process.

    C) Legislators  can also confer benefits that are something other than "a vote."

    D) Not all "this for that" exchanges between government officials and interested parties are or should be illegal. Even I'll give you money if you vote as I prefer is or should always be illegal. I'll give you a legal campaign contribution if you vote to legalize/ban  gay marriage doesn't and shouldn't make me or the pol who accepts it a crook even though it's a quid pro quo


    So what? (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    Even in the McDonnells' case, the evidence against them was almost all circumstantial.

    In a vast majority of cases, all the prosecution has is circumstantial evidence. It is (or should be) given exactly the same weight as direct evidence. Circumstantial doesn't mean "lesser" or "not as strong". (For example, DNA and fingerprints are circumstantial evidence.  But most people would consider those pretty definitive and strong evidence in a criminal case.)

    It therefore, shouldn't be surprising that most of the evidence in this case was circumstantial.

    And let's not forget in all of this - previous to his tenure as governor, Bob McDonnell was the Attorney General of the Commonwealth. If his story of being in the dark about the money is to be believed, (and IMO, it's not), then he still should have had the experience and knowledge to ask questions of his wife and Jonnie Williams - "Where did you get the money for this Rolex?", "Gee, Jonnie, thanks for offering your Ferrari for our trip back to Richmond, but we can't accept.", "You want to give my sister and me a loan for our fledgling real estate venture?", "Why do you want to pay $15,000 for our daughter's wedding?"

    The really stupid thing is that Virginia has very few ethics laws that address this.  All he had to do was declare these gifts, and while it may have been a week long story in the press, it wouldn't have been criminal behavior.

    He knew better and thought he wouldn't get caught.  Shame on him. But I'm not sorry his arrogance caught up with him.


    I only wish that that his parole would come with.. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 10:22:03 AM EST
    ...a requirement to work full-time, for several years, for, say, a food bank or domestic violence safehouse or any other useful charity, and labor for the menial level of wages the average worker in these positions must survive on. Then, maybe, you'd get some rehabilitation.

    There is no parole in the federal system (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 10:47:08 AM EST
    and has not been since 1987. A defendant sentenced in federal court must serve 87% of his/her sentence (the deduction being for good behavior, and is therefore not automatic). There is a period of post-release, probation-like control, called "supervised release," but it follows and is not deducted from the prison sentence (like parole would be).

    I always have mixed feelings (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 11:05:57 AM EST
     about cases like this.

      On the one hand, there is a reason I choose to be a defense lawyer and for philosophical and practical reasons I have elaborated on before, I oppose unduly harsh sentences. Also, although decisions such as this are not "precedential" in the technical sense of the word, they do have "downstream effects" which can result in others receiving lesser (fairer) sentences.

      On the other hand, I believe that betrayal of the public trust by elected officials is extremely serious and escapades like this do trigger some moral outrage.

      In this, and many others, that outrage is, perhaps ironically or even illogically,  somewhat exacerbated by the penny ante nature of the crimes. I mean for God's sake if you want  things that the salary of an elected official won't allow you to have then don't run for office and get a job that lets you satiate your trivial material desires. How strong really  is a person's character if he can bought so cheaply?

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:17:36 PM EST
    Years ago, we had a state representative out here who used to charge all sorts of unauthorized / invalid but otherwise remarkably petty expenses to his campaign fund -- small stuff like lunch at McDonald's. Despite being warned on several occasions by the campaign spending commission to cease and desist, he continued doing so, and it eventually all caught up with him big time.

    It was interesting to note that not a single one of his many attempted reimbursements was over $60. But given that he'd been engaging in this sort of fraudulent behavior for years on end, the sum total of his petty misdemeanors ended up over $50,000 -- which collectively rendered his crime a felony. He was tried and convicted, and not only forbidden from ever holding public office again, but also disbarred as an attorney.



    The sentence given (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:22:37 PM EST
    to Governor McDonnell for corruption is, from my perspective, adequate.   And, the case demonstrates the need for judicial discretion.  However, I am perplexed by the judge's sentencing comment, "This whole case has been tragic from beginning to end."   Tragic?   For whom?   Crime and its consequences could be considered to be tragic not just for a governor who betrayed the public trust.  

    Moreover, the 24-month sentence affirms my belief that Governor Rod Blagojevich's sentence of 14-years was harsh.  Blago is nobody's political poster boy, but his crimes were more in the category of political horse trading (unfortunately too commonplace) than personal favor trading.  

    In the classical sense (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:59:07 PM EST
     "tragedy" includes a story of an in some ways admirable  person destined for a fall because of a  flaw of character.

    a flaw in character (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:07:16 PM EST
    and in Greek tragedy, oftentimes just fate destines a person for a fall..

    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:52:40 PM EST
     that's why I used "includes" rather than "is."



    I didn't see (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:21:58 PM EST
    ...anyone involved who had "admirable" qualities that would make this a "tragedy."

    What I saw was greed, corruption, a dysfunctional family and no hesitation in blaming one's spouse of decades for one's own shortcomings.

    Tragedy is not the same as karma.


    The judge is allowed (none / 0) (#17)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:54:25 PM EST
     to have different view than you. It appears that he did, and, luckily for for McDonnell, the judge's view carries more weight.

    An Admirable Person Doesn't Usually... (none / 0) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 03:08:51 PM EST
    ...find themselves going to prison for corruption.

    No tragedy, other than the headed to prison tragedy many others find themselves in.

    While I find the term fair, as mentioned above if he was in Congress and Williams was a lobbyist, he would be enjoying life.  Not headed to prison for what IMO is peanuts when you see what kind of dollars Congress can legally scalp from special interests for their vote(s).  Dollars used for them to ensure they keep their job.


    I'm not advocating for McDonnell specifically (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 04:01:49 PM EST
      I'm merely explaining what I think the judge intended to convey in those remarks.

      But,  I have found human beings to be far more complex than  can be conveyed by labels like "corrupt politician" or "bad cop" and so forth. Very few people are  completely bad (or good, for that matter) and that includes criminals, even most of the ones who have committed serious crimes.

      I probably would have given him a harsher sentence had I been the judge, but that doesn't lead me to criticize this judge for weighing the good versus bas as he did and showing McDonnell what the judge expressly characterized and "grace" and "mercy."

       Now, I do agree with the opinion that  often wealthy, powerful people are beneficiaries of grace and mercy that  poor, powerless people are denied. There is unfairness. Just one illustration is the judge touting the "hundreds" of supporters McDonnell had. A lot of people don't even really know hundreds of people and the people they do know are less capable of influencing a judge (for good and bad reasons). I'd also venture that judges, on a subconscious level, find it easier to empathize with people who are more similar to them as is the case with educated, successful defendants.

      In fact, these types of considerations were a  part of  the rationale for the making the sentencing guidelines mandatory. We recognize that humans have conscious and unconscious biases that can influence decisions.  Making the guidelines mandatory may have eliminated most of that effect with regard to judges rendering sentencing decision, but it came at a very high cost.

       One, while mandatory guidelines greatly diminish the ability of judges to make idiosyncratic decisions or to consider "improper" considerations, they didn't (and can't) prevent prosecutorial decision making to have very similar effect.

      Two, every person is different-- his crime is different, the circumstances are different, his "character" (as impossible as that may be to truly know) is different, and on and on.

     Reducing sentencing to a listing of "objective" factors and assigning  fixed values based on the existence or absence of only the factors "on the list" causes far more unfairness than allowing judges "to judge."  We might not always agree with a  judge's perceptions or his reasoning in a particular case, but there is good reason fore permitting judges to do what this judge did.


    Very well said ... (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 05:00:46 PM EST
    like the intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive defense lawyer you obviously are.

    What Peter aid. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:01:59 PM EST
    And thank you.

    The feeling is mutual (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 08:11:29 AM EST

    Not "usually," to be sure, (none / 0) (#22)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 03:30:15 PM EST
    but certainly sometimes.

    I Get Into This Argument All the Time... (none / 0) (#28)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 04:35:49 PM EST
    ...over sports figure, people trying to split a person by saying, well on the field he was the best who ever lived and deserves the admiration of all, it's just too bad he beat his wife to death.

    To which I always reply, a person is one entity, and a man who beats his wife does not deserve any admiration.  Obviously that is extremes, but a public official who enriches their own pockets is not an admirable person, and any admirable qualities need to be diluted with the rest of his person, and that is the true measure of a man/woman, the entire package, not the cherry picked good stuff.

    And it doesn't go one way, if he is indeed a good human being one misstep, even a large one, should be deluded with his good deeds, but from this man I have yet to see anything redeemable, but it's not over for him and surely I have no idea who he really is.

    Obviously, just my opinion and I know from having the argument enough that I am probably in the minority, but that is how I feel.


    what if a felon rushes into a burning building (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 09:13:54 PM EST
    and saves five children? Is that not admirable? That's one of the problems with the guidelines. They don't sufficiently allow for consideration of individual traits.

    There are plenty of convicted criminals who have admirable traits. Good people sometimes do bad things. Simple as that.


    I think, Jeralyn, that good people ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 02:51:42 PM EST
    ... can be remarkably obtuse when it comes to self-evaluation of their own personal conduct and behavior. It's not that these persons deliberately seek to be bad actors or violate the law.

    Let's face it, we've all been guilty of occasionally making the boneheaded call at one time or another in our respective lives, albeit not necessarily of the felonious variety.

    Sometimes, people will confront extraordinary or difficult circumstances that lead them to exhibit remarkably poor judgment in immediate response, which they then compound by acting upon it. As my late maternal grandfather would say it, "They should've zigged when they zagged."

    An example of that would be a mother who endeavors to protect her son by concealing potential evidence which might otherwise implicate him in a possible criminal act, such as misleading investigators regarding his exact whereabouts during a particular time in question.

    therefore, you offer a very good point that strict and / or mandatory guidelines can preclude a judge from considering the entirety of a defendant's character or circumstances during his or her deliberations, prior to pronouncing sentence.

    Thus, should that aforementioned mother have the book thrown at her because she heeded her own innate maternal instinct to protect her child from harm, and was herself then convicted because of it?

    That sort of decision should be left solely to a judge's individual discretion, and not considered by a legislature as part of some dubious attempt to "get tough" on criminal behavior. The defense of judicial discretion is the primary reason why I've always opposed the enactment of "Three Strikes" laws, which were oh so popular with state legislators across the country during the 1980s and '90s.

    Because while "Three Strikes" may have been a boon for a burgeoning corrections industry, it's proven to be a bane to almost everyone else, particularly poor people and minorities, and ultimately a big fiscal bust for taxpayers.



    While I agree with you, (none / 0) (#41)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 03:35:18 PM EST
    Donald, and I think that the "Three Strikes" laws were execrable, I would also say that........there are judges, and then there are judges.
    They are not all capable of exercising reasonable, and reasoned, discretion.
    It depends upon the judge.

    To be sure, Zorba, there are lousy judges. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 08:06:05 PM EST
    If people are unhappy with their judiciary, then they need to work to ensure that their respective states do a better job at choosing judges. For the record, I detest the popular election of judges, as occurs in some locales, because it tends to overly politicize the selection process, particularly in our present day and age.

    Our own Hawaii State Judicial Selection Commission, by which we nominate and confirm judges and state supreme court justices, seems to work pretty well, and has removed a lot of the politics from the process. Commissioners are nominated by the Hawaii Bar Association, the governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. Commissioners do not necessarily have to be attorneys, though they usually are.

    Once a judicial vacancy occurs, a notice is published in publications of general circulation to solicit applications from those persons who both desire to serve on the bench and meet the general qualifications, which are determined by the State Supreme Court.

    Applicants are then  subjected to peer review by the bar association and rated accordingly, and their names forwarded to the selection commission, which then chooses up to five candidates and submits that list to the governor. The names on that list are not made public.

    The governor can either select one candidate from that list, or can reject the list in full and ask the commission for another. Once the governor has made his or her choice, the nomination is then forwarded to the State Senate for a public hearing by the standing Committee on Executive Appointments and a vote on whether to forward the nomination for a final vote by the entire Senate.

    Judges and justices are confirmed by the State Senate for ten-year terms, and per our state constitution they are required to retire from the bench at age 70, regardless of whether or not their ten-year term has actually expired. (A proposed constitutional amendment to raise the judiciary's retirement age to 80 was rejected overwhelmingly by Hawaii voters this past November.)

    Once the judge's / justice's ten-year term is up, he or she can formally apply to the selection commission for retention, but there is no guarantee that the either the commission, governor or State Senate will act on it. If any one of the above declines to consider that judge or justice for retention to the bench, then the selection process starts all over again for the prospective vacancy.



    My Point Was More... (none / 0) (#42)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 04:50:07 PM EST
    ...that you take the entire person, if the felon is a felon for killing 10 people, saving 5 is hardly going to tip the scales, one act does not make a person, bad or good.

    See post #28.


    Actually (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 09:58:34 AM EST
    The prosecution asked for 6.5 years after motions yesterday, and the guideline called for up to 8.

    But glad to see the judge call out the "It's all Maureen's fault" for the BS defense that it was.

    Yeh, I didn't like (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:17:34 PM EST
    the way McDonnell threw his wife under the bus.
    What, even if (and it's a big "if") she was the only one who wanted lots of loans, vacations, or whatever (which I doubt), he couldn't put on his big-boy pants and say "We're not going to do that"?  

    Let's Call it What is Was... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 02:54:03 PM EST
    ..the Roger Clemens defense, aka "It's all her fault", when it was anything but her fault.

    Where do I find a woman like this, commit a crime and blame it on them and they come back like a loyal puppy.  Just kidding, I enjoy a woman with a functioning brain.


    Maureen McDonnell's brain was functioning. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 03:56:11 PM EST
    But unfortunately for her, it functioned just like her husband Bob's. If ever a couple truly deserved one another, it was those two.



    There are times when I love Charles Pierce. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 07:59:11 PM EST
    And this is one of them. Anne turned me on to him years ago, and his glib tongue is definitely worth a read on this particular matter:

    "I come here to comment upon this remarkable column by Ruth Marcus, scourge of teenage potty-mouths everywhere, in which she declares her support for the surprisingly lenient two-year sentence meted out to former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a penny-ante grifter who sold his office for a bowl of pottage and a Rolex. I don't entirely disagree with that point, although I'd have tacked on a few more years just because McDonnell proved to be so cheap a 'ho. But Marcus's reasons for why McDonnell deserved this slap on his wrists are yet another example of the fact that our political elite exist on some plane of existence not shared at all by the rest of us."