Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fall Guy Falls

Libby convicted on 4 of 5 count. See any news website for more.

From Legal Times, some juror feedback:

"We had tremendous sympathy" for Libby, Collins said. One juror said he didn't want to be judging Libby. "This sucks," Collins quoted the juror as saying.

"The belief of the jury was that he was tasked by the vice president to talk to reporters," Collins said.

So... the jury appears to have been ready to get Cheney for... something.

Putting aside the confusing mess that is the merits of the case, what should the sentence be? Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjruy, and one count of false statement of facts. According to the news, that's a maximum sentence of 25 years.

I pose to the comments thread: what is the right sentence? And where does the executive power to pardon fit in?

From what I've seen of the "harm" caused by the crimes proven, my instinct is that probation, maybe house arrest, would serve the interests of justice best.

UPDATE: Of course, Sentencing Law & Policy is already on the task. It's jail time for sure based on the guidelines, with a minimum looking like a year and a half. Judge Walton does have some discretion to play around within those guidelines. Based purely on his biography, it doesn't look good for Libby.

Also, I commend this article to those interested in this case.

UPDATE 2: WSJ on likelihood of pardon. The money line comes at the end:
"Defendants in similar situations are routinely allowed to remain free on bond while their appeals are pending. For Mr. Libby, that could delay the beginning of his sentence for months and push the need for a decision back to the end of Mr. Bush's tenure when a pardon would reduce the political fallout."

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7 Comments:

Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

EW, I fear you conflate the bad things Libby did in office that we wish we could convict someone for with the actual crimes he was charged and convicted of. But if I misunderstand, please clarify.

3/06/2007 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lil Kim got a year in the high security federal detention center in downtown Philly for lying to a federal grand jury.

Both were convicted of trying to cover up for their friends. How Libby would merit a lower sentence that lil kim escapes me.

3/06/2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you how: Scooter's last album was better.

3/06/2007 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, Earl, the US had already invaded Iraq by June 2003, when the administration began talking to reporters about Valerie Plame.

3/06/2007 5:17 PM  
Blogger Tacitus said...

TF:
You shouldn't simply state that "from what [you've] seen of the 'harm'" caused, probation or house arrest would serve the interests of justice best, without explaining what you think the "harm" of Libby's crime is.
Without such an explanation, a reader has no way whatsoever to understand (to agree with or to contest) the merits of your view that such punishment would serve justice best.

3/06/2007 6:11 PM  
Blogger Isaac Zaur said...

Different legal developments seem to call for reaction in different literary forms. The Libby verdict, in my mind, cries out for something called a "list poem." This is a real thing. Certain fellow-travellers of the Beat Poets used them to great effect. Notably Ron Padgett and Joe Brainard. Sometimes middle- and high-school english teachers still use the form--it presents, as they say, very low bars to entry. Here goes:

"How I Feel About Scooter Libby On March 6, 2007"

I feel like if you lie to a grand jury, you should go to prison.

I feel like I'm tired of seeing people go to prison for non-violent crimes.

I feel like it's weird to group together smoking marijuana and obstruction of justice under that phrase.

I feel like it's maddening to watch someone pilloried for secondary, tertiary, quaternary conduct while the primary offenders get off free.

I feel like Karl Rove is a little bit like Aaron Burr--and not in a good way.

I feel like "quaternery" is a goddamned great word.

I feel like we need to settle two separate-but-related questions before we start a serious normative conversation about sentencing: 1) horizontal or absolute equity? and 2) talk about sentencing as a program of changes from our current crazy system or try to create a brand-new system from the ground up?

I feel like who the hell is L'il Kim?

I feel like--NEVER LIE TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE YOU WORK FOR.

I feel like--NEVER GO TO WORK FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL ASK YOU TO LIE TO PROTECT THEM.

I feel like it must sometimes be hard to tell who will ask you a thing like that when the going gets tough.

I feel like the MPRE is a pretty funny test.

I feel like you should really almost never lie at all.

I feel like I've heard of at least one federal judge who claimed he had resigned because he couldn't bring himself to sentence people under the guidelines (pre-Booker).

I feel like I hope this gives Bush a good sleepless night.

I feel like it won't.

I believe Scooter Libby got into government for noble reasons.

I believe lots of people do.

I feel like I'm going to go read The Destruction of Young Lawyers by Doug Litowitz to cheer myself up.

3/06/2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

I believe Pilloried is an even better word than Quarternery.

3/06/2007 11:34 PM  

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