Friday, July 6, 2007

Libby Sentencing Again

To any of those on the Right who continue to assert that somehow Libby received an abnormal sentence in his case, I would encourage you to consider going to the nearest federal district court in your area on a day where they do federal sentencings.

You are likely to see several people with no previous record who have gotten caught up in federal prosecutions and received jail time for offenses that most people would never be prosecuted for.

You will notice that the Probation Officer will submit a report in which various potentially mitigating aspects are discussed. Nevertheless, the final recommendation is based upon the sentencing algorithm and is always higher for individuals who go to trial, like Libby, rather than plead guilty.

You will hear federal prosecutor after prosecutor arguing that lack of previous record has already been considered in the guidelines. Indeed, it is part of the basic algorithm. You will hear them argue with respect to public employees, that such people should in fact receive greater punishment for betraying the public trust. You will hear them argue that losing a law license is immaterial with respect to sentencing, as is dangerousness. You will hear them tell the judge that all varieties of acquitted or uncharged conduct should be imputed to the defendant to increase his sentence.

You will see the tears of the family members and friends upon seeing loved ones who are a threat to no one go away for long periods of time.

Perhaps at that point, you will realize that for many the issue is not whether or not the President had the power to do what he did, it is the raw, rank hypocrisy of Bush's commenting that the system behaved unfairly with respect to Libby, when in fact, the system behave exactly as Bush and the Republicans have always argued that it should and exactly as it does virtually every single day during federal sentencings in the nation that imprisons the most people per capita in the world.

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