Friday, July 6

Consequences of LIbby Commute: A Free For All!

According to the New York Times the defense team for a suspected Hamas Operative filed a motion arguing that he should get - The Libby Treatment

And he's not the only one.

The New York times reported yesterday that Scooter Libby’s commutation has been a "gift" for defense attorneys, with many using the so-called "Libby motion" to argue, "My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why." Subsequently, judges may have "reason to lighten sentences and undermining the goal of a more uniform justice system."

Y'know I hate to say "I Don't Told You So!"

Ok, that's a lie - NO I DON'T.

Just as I predicted 2 months ago concerning the consequences of the DOJ purge, defense attorneys are now using the probability that their clients were targeted for partisan reasons as justification for either tossing the cases or lighter sentences.

As noted by the LA Times.

Defense lawyers in a growing number of cases are raising questions about the motives of government lawyers who have brought charges against their clients. In court papers, they are citing the furor over the U.S. attorney dismissals as evidence that their cases may have been infected by politics.

Justice officials say those concerns are unfounded and constitute desperate measures by desperate defendants. But the affair has given defendants and their lawyers some new energy, which is complicating life for the prosecutors.

And we should certainly believe everything the Justice Department has to say about it, right?

Now in addition to that problem, and previous claims by defense attorneys that illegal evidence may have been used against them via NSA wiretaps, we have The Libby Treatment defense, but that hasn't phased the White House. Nope, not even a little bit.

In a USA Today Op-ed written by Snow Job himself, our erstwhile Press Secretary says that what the President did the other day - besides the fact that he's almost never done it before - was completely normal.

[Bush] believes it is important to respect the jury’s work. ... So the president left intact the felony convictions and two of the major punishments — the fine and probation.

President Bush commuted part of Lewis Libby's sentence because he considered a 30-month stretch in prison too severe. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury; was fined $250,000; must serve two years probation; and will likely lose his license to practice law. That qualifies as a stern penalty for a first-time offender with a long history of public service.

Isn't it interesting that the Press Secretary has decided that he needs to temporarily return to being a member of the dreaded media by submitting an Oped on this issue? What's the matter Tony, weren't you able to catapult the propaganda sufficiently from behind the pulpit?

Of course he says nothing about Judge Reggie Walton's order which indicates the that probation is entirely moot, since Federal guidelines require that a defendant serve time before they can be placed on "supervised release."

Once you leave the psycho fantasy world of the Snowblind, things get a wee bit more interesting.

From the New York Sun.

[An] alleged Hamas operative is likely to be among the first criminal defendents to try to capitalize on President Bush’s commutation.” Mohammad Salah is scheduled to be sentenced next week on obstruction of justice charges, with a 22 year maximum sentence. “What the president said about Mr. Libby applies in spades to the case of Mohammed Salah,” said defense attorney Michael Deutsch.

"When Mr. Bush commuted that prison sentence on Monday, he made particular note of the alleged unfairness in how Libby’s sentence was calculated. “Critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury,” the president wrote."

It applies to an even greater extent in Mr. Salah’s case,” Mr. Deutsch said. “In our case, these allegations were presented to a jury and he was acquitted.”

Rather than lying to the FBI and a Grand Jury, Salah was convicted of lies not related to his criminal case, but instead of statements made on the stand during his defense against civil prosecution by families of victims of a deadly Hamas sponsored-bombing. So the associates of suicide bombers are now claiming they should recieve clemency based on the exact same arguements made by the President to save Libby from prison?

I wonder what Tony Snow might say to that? You think he might try spin this into an "Clinton did it too" arguement? Nah, he would never.

Think again.

The Constitution gives the president the power to grant clemency in a wide range of cases, at his discretion, with no restrictions. In the final hours of the Clinton administration, this unfettered authority was embodied in a mad rush to push through pardons with dizzying haste — 141 grants on Clinton's final day in office, part of 211 in the final nine weeks.

In contrast, no president in recent history has made more careful use of the pardoning power than George W. Bush: The president believes pardons and commutations should reflect a genuine determination to strengthen the rule of law and increase public faith in government.

.

See, Bush was just restoring faith and the "(d)rule of law" to government after that rotten Clinton guy messed everything up. Nothing to worry about.

Except possibly for the fact that ...

Susan James, defense attorney for former Governor Don Siegelman (R D-AL), who was convicted of corruption and obstruction of justice charges, plans to argue for the “Libby treatment” for Siegelman. “[Bush] has basically come in and said the sentence is too harsh,” James said. “I’ll find some way to weave that into our argument,” James said.

Isn't this when Scooby Doo usually goes "Ruh Roh"?

More from TPM Muckraker.

Siegelman was convicted on corruption charges stemming from appointing a healthcare CEO, Robert Scrushy, to a public board. Like Libby, he was also convicted of obstruction of justice charges, which were related to a $9,000 motorcycle transaction. But unlike Libby, who was give six to eight weeks to report to jail, Siegelman was taken into custody immediately after the judge announced his sentence. Before the commutation announcement this evening, Siegelman's lawyers had argued that he should have been allowed to remain free while awaiting his appeal.

"He doesn't want to be treated like Paris Hilton, but he does want to be treated fairly like Scooter Libby," said another one of Siegelman's lawyers, Vince Kilborn.

Isn't that great, everybody wants to get Scooter-fied.

Yep, That's a Heckuvajob you did there Bushie. Way to "Protect the Homeland" and "Fight Terrorism". Oh yeah, and that Faith in Government and Rule of Law thingee should be arriving on the South Lawn any minute now - like a flaming bag full of crap on Halloween.

It Burns - It BURNS!

And it stinks too.

Update: One thing about that should be pointed out with Fred "Flaw and Disorder" Thompson, Rudy Giuliani (who hasn't met a brutal cop he doesn't love) and Mitt Romney (who as Massachusetts governor refused to pardon an Iraq war veteran’s BB-gun conviction) all of whom have openly and enthusiastically supported the President's action regarding Libby - does this mean that any or all of them would be willing to make changes to various Manditory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines to allow more judicial flexibility in the light of "extenuating circumstances?"

Somehow, I think not.

Vyan

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