WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, July 05, 2007

W MAKES A COURAGEOUS AND LONELY STAND

BUSH AND SENTENCING.

President Bush opened up a can of worms when he commuted the sentence of former VP aide Scooter Libby. Bush’s reasons supporting the commutation sounded very familiar to most of us who practice criminal law in the State and Federal Courts: Libby was a first time offender; he was convicted of a non-violent offense; Libby had made substantial contributions to society during his lifetime; the effects of Libby’s incarceration would be harsh on his wife and children; Libby was most likely destined to suffer consequences of his conviction that would be more far reaching and punitive, including the loss of his license to practice law and his ability to earn a living.

The problem with the President’s reasoning is that these are reasons that are usually rejected by the courts. Let’s stick with Federal courts for a moment and address the reasons point by point:

No Prior record: The response is that the guidelines already adequately take into account lack of prior record by not scoring any additional points.

Non-violent offense: the guidelines are the guidelines and also take whether there was injury or threat of use of force into account.

The effect on Libby’s family: Judges are specifically prohibited from considering this factor unless there are extraordinary circumstances which don’t exist here. Paris Hilton's parents were said to be depressed to the point where they could barely eat anything at their country club's Saturday evening social during the time their daughter was in jail.

The effect on Libby’s future earnings and his background and contributions to society: these matters are reported to the Judge in the pre-sentence report but are not legally authorized reasons to depart downward from the guidelines.


So what are we to make of our President’s new found sympathy for felons?
Can we expect a
Bush/Libby sentencing doctrine, to be invoked on behalf of every first time offender with a family that relies on him who has otherwise led a law abiding life?

If nothing else, Bush’s commutation of Libby’s prison sentence may well have opened a national discussion on the harshness of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. If a tough law and order don’t mess with Texas President finds 30 months for a first time offender too harsh, then isn’t it about time Congress got off their duffs and stopped thwarting the President’s well known compassion for felons and amended the sentencing guidelines to more reflect the Republican/Conservative beliefs in giving first offenders a second chance?

We join in with the President and his Republican allies and demand that the Democratic controlled Congress address this inequity and national disgrace. How many more commutations will our President be forced to issue to protect first offenders from serving a federal guideline mandated prison term before the Democrats do something about this? Isn’t it time the rest of the politicians joined our President and stopped playing politics with people’s lives?


Doesn’t any other politician have the courage of our President to stand up to the law and order lobbyists and the public’s fear of crime fueled demands for prison for anyone and everyone convicted of any crime?

We admire the President for his courageous and lonely stance on this important issue. We have in the past written about our differences with the President and his policies.

But when he is right,
he is right. Well done Mr. President; well done indeed.

Prison is no place for first time offenders convicted of non violent offenses.

See You In Court, arguing just that, and citing our President as authority in the matter.

30 comments:

Rumpole said...

A little slow this past week, but the summer does that. Todays post should get people talking.

Total ...................... 265,404
Average per Day ................ 582
Average Visit Length .......... 4:11
This Week .................... 4,076

Anonymous said...

The sentencing guidelines should have been scrapped in the Mistretta case as an unauthorized delegation of power by Congress on the sentencing guidelines commission and an encroachment by the legislative branch upon the judicial branch. But Rehnquist saw nothing wrong with it and caried the majority in the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Maybe KuKu will post and get things started up

Anonymous said...

Didn't Markus make this same point a couple days back? And didn't you already say you agreed with him?

Anonymous Liberal said...

Thompson: Nixon Mole

Anonymous said...

YOU SOUTH FLA LIBERAL DEMS ARE JUST PO'D THAT HIS ATTORNEY'S ARGUMENTS WORKED AND YOURS DON'T ! SUCK IT UP ,AND THEN LOOK OVER AT THE LIST OF PARDONS CLINTON SOLD,MANY THROUGH HIS BROTHER IN LAW !

Rumpole said...

As a South Florida liberal dem, I can tell you that Libby's lawyers arguments DIDN'T WORK. He was found guilty. I imagine the work done on the commutation had to do with Libby calling his former employer..."Hi Dick? Scooter here. No, I can't go hunting right now, I've got a sentencing coming up. And it doesn't look good...."

Something along those lines.

Hardwick said...

Ku Ku who ya calling Ku Ku?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
YOU SOUTH FLA LIBERAL DEMS ARE JUST PO'D THAT HIS ATTORNEY'S ARGUMENTS WORKED AND YOURS DON'T ! SUCK IT UP ,AND THEN LOOK OVER AT THE LIST OF PARDONS CLINTON SOLD,MANY THROUGH HIS BROTHER IN LAW !

Thursday, July 05, 2007 2:58:00 PM

al milian?

retire bennett now said...

THIS BILL IS DUE

IT'S OFFICIAL: BILL has opened an exploratory account to run against Bannem Bennett Brummer. Everyone who wants to hop on board should contribute one dollar. Just one dollar for now. Let's say he raises 1500 bucks- that shows 1500 people ready to raise funds for our next PD:Bill.

Rumpole said...

Scooter pays the man.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0705071libby1.html?link=rssfeed

Libby paid his 250k fine, plus his 400 special assessment. Can't forget that SA.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody give me a heads up on Judge Rosenberg in Broward? I have a trial set in front of him in the next few weeks. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Where do I send my $1 for Bill?

How about KuKu for PD if Bill decides not to run?

Anonymous said...

anyone had a jury trial before us magristrate edwin torres. i am considering whether i will agree to have him try a case instead of the district judge jordan. thanks for any input.

Anonymous said...

Ku Ku would have to finish High School than college than take the bar examine....need I say more.

Anonymous said...

If more judges did their jobs and stopped dismissing or low balling cases so they could make their nail/tennis/golf appointments, we wouldn't need the sentencing guidelines.

Anonymous said...

bennett brummer should retire.
when was the last time an apd other then lynn p. 1st chaired a murder case???

and that web site.

soft soft soft.

and his anti viloence anitative? what a joke...

and last but not least. the fact that every single top lap dog got a 40 to 50 k raises after the election is worthy of jurnalistic investigation.

where do i send the dollar to bill?

Anonymous said...

New blog poll ques:

Should the Judge Greene poll question be removed?

Anonymous said...

Who is this Bill? What is his last name and credentials?

What about Gabe?

Anonymous said...

BHB does not give raises? The State does?

Whats up with the state wide PD office?

The blog is turing into crap (sorry rump). I find my self on the broward blog because its free flowing and from what I read all my pals from this blog have hit the broward blog.

Rumpole if you do not take off moderation I fear that your blog will become a thing of the past. Gotta go broward blog has some breaking news that I can post a comments or two in real time. I will check this blog in a few hours to see if this message made it past the Rumpole screeners.

Anonymous said...

BIG BLOG NEWS

Alan Aloisius Shuminer is the first new head of the Regional Office of Conflict attorneys for Miami and The Keys.

yes, Alan is the big Roc.

Assisting him will be his deputy rock, Chris Hi-Tech Pracitto, assisted by Jay White, Jay Grey, Jay Black, and Jay Blue.

Alan will be hiring counsel to staff the office, called the Rockettes, and his office will use this motto:

Tough As Rocks
we will not fail
and keep our clients
out of jail.

Conflict free
we strive to be
while trying cases
almost for free.

Best of Luck to the big rock and his rockettes, and congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Gabe is out. A fool for the big city. What a waste.

Bill Barzee would make a fine public defender.

Rumpole, what is your mailing address?

Anonymous said...

Rumpy, I did NOT take the job offered to me by the head rock. I will not be joining my Jay brothers. Please take down that last post.

Jay Blue.

Rumpole said...

8:03- in all this time you are the first person to ask that question. Bravo! For now, just use: Rumpole, 1351 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL, 33125, attn: Blogging division.

Anonymous Liberal said...

From a Blog called Talking Points Memo:

Andrew Sullivan's got a really quite hilarious post flagging the latest tripe from Marty Peretz about the Libby GOOJFC -- Get Out of Jail Free Card (TM). Peretz says from start to finish the case was politically motivated. And certainly he has plenty of company on the right with ridiculousness.

Says Peretz ...

the appointment of the special prosecutor, the prosecutor's own obsessions, the case itself with the doubtful and understandably doubtful but diverse memories of many witnesses, including the defendant, the especially harsh sentence pronounced by the judge, the refusal of the appellate court to continue Libby on bail - all of these were politically motivated.

This actually puts a finger on the key point in this whole drama. The case had profound political overtones. And certainly there are no end of people in the country who became deeply invested in this case who normally wouldn't get overly bent out of shape about a run-of-the-mill perjury and obstruction case -- which, at least narrowly speaking, this is.

But Libby never found his fate in one of those people's hands. Not once. There's just no getting around that point.

Go down the list.

1. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Decided a special prosecutor was needed and then recused himself from the decision because of his proximity to the probable targets of the investigation.

2. James Comey. Yes, he's the darling of the Dems now because he spilled the beans about the hospital stand-off. But Comey is, dare we say it, a REPUBLICAN. And not just any Republican but a pretty tough law-and-order type who only months earlier had been appointed Deputy Attorney General by President Bush. He had it in for Scooter? He let his partisanship get in the way?

3. Patrick Fitzgerald. Again, a darling of the Dems now for obvious reasons. But anyone who knows the guy's history knows that while this registered independent may not lean ideologically right (in the way movement whacks might recognize) he certainly doesn't lean to the left. It's no accident that his appointments have come under Republicans.

4. Judge Reggie Walton. Let's start with this: He was appointed by George W. Bush. And if that doesn't do it for you, he was appointed to previous judicial appointments by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

A mere calling of the roll like this puts into a razor-sharp relief just how silly these claims are. At every step in the process Libby's fate was in the hands of someone who was either himself a staunch Republican or had been repeatedly appointed by staunch Republicans. The only thing is that no one ever passed him off into the hands a Bush loyalist. And that's the key. Alberto Gonzales never got the hand-off. Whatever else you can claim about this case, it's about as clear as it can be that partisan politics played no role in Libby's fate.

Anonymous said...

Yea. Go ahead and mail it there.

It will end up on Sam Slom's desk.

HE is the only judge working past noon.

Anonymous said...

Re mag torres, i havent tried a case with him but hear from a friend that did that he was 'great" and she is a pretty good judg of judges.

Anonymous said...

I hate Bill Barzee, but if it means getting rid of crap Brummer, I am on the team.

The Boys are Back in Town!

Anonymous said...

One might not agree with Kiko, but at least one can say that he is not shy about his opinions and publishes under his own name. Now this is coming from a Socialist, and too don't always ( well I never have) agreed with Kiko, but I do respect his willingness to debate the issues and listen. I am sure any of you anonymous folks who really wish to have a spirited debate might actually try to just show Kiko a little respect and have a face to face discussion with him, as I have many times. He's never changed my opinion and I surely have never gotten through that thick, rather large head of his, but we do have some lively discussions. Oh, and I do consider him a friend, and he is also a great family man and a fine Criminal Defense lawyer.
p.s. Kiko, you probably know where to send the check.....

Anonymous said...

do you mean CPS aka Hardwick aka He who must not be named aka Kiko?

http://www.mcgillismusic.com/Kiko.htm