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Friday, March 08, 2019

BAD MOON RISING

This is how it starts. 
A high profile sentencing. 
A perceived unfairness and hysterical commentary that a rich-white man got a break from a liberal-activist judge (never mind Judge T.S. Ellis  was appointed by Ronald Wilson Reagan) and then the politicians take over. 
"It's an outrage!...Judges cannot be trusted!...."
And the cry for minimum mandatory sentences will be taken up. 

Nobody runs for office and wins on the platform of having reasonable sentencing laws. 

Maximum sentences for any crime becomes the cry. And the public, indigent, demands action. 

Until someone is arrested and convicted and they are sitting in our office. 

"We don't understand Rumpole. Our (husband, father, brother, sister, mother) led an exemplary life for fifty years, Then they ran into money trouble and committed this crime. No one was hurt. The money was paid back. They are 70 years old. They have health troubles. They have lost their license. Why must the judge impose a twelve year minimum mandatory sentence?

Rumpole: "Under the Paul Manafort sentencing reform act of 2020, a Judge must impose a minimum of twelve years prison on all people convicted of white collar fraud claims if they have no prior record, have a college degree, used a computer for their crimes, and are considered 'a person of privilege' because the sentencing act clearly states people of privilege should receive an additional punishment for abusing their privilege so as to restore the public's trust in the criminal justice system. I'm sorry, there is nothing anyone can do."

Mark our words- despite the horrific unfairness of the sentencing guidelines, things are about to get worse, not better, because of this stupid case. How many of us would give almost anything to have a Judge of courage, wisdom and integrity like Judge Ellis sitting in judgement on our client's white collar fraud sentencing? 

But he, and the rest of the judiciary are about to lose their discretion in this area. 

A bad moon is rising. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I could disagree with you assessment of the Manafort sentence and incensed at Ellis' hubris at believing he sees the Manafort prosecution for one thing, while ignoring the greater issues of continuing to punish non-violent, but yet serious white-collar behavior so leniently. Mr. Manfort’s attorneys successfully invoked the constant battle between the two theories of punishment that have been the stalwart of our system of justice for two hundred years, Utilitarianism (the certainty of punishment as a general deterrence to society not to violate the law) and Retributivism (addressing sentencing to the individual defendant based upon their own moral blameworthiness).

Judge Ellis disregarded the criminality of Manfort’s conduct. The prosecution sentencing memorandum and, what appears to be in the PSI seem to outline the long history of his criminal behavior, contempt for the law, behavior while out on bond, and disregard for the undermining of our democracy.

The Guidelines were promulgated to provide a means for judges to standardize the punishment based upon an objective criteria. They contemplate that the court will consider “all relevant conduct”, not just the conduct for which the defendant was convicted. They provide for departures, giving the court “appropriate discretion” to adjust its ultimate decision, where the findings of the court support the exercise of that discretion. In that regard they are both utilitarian and retributive.

Ellis relied only on his own opinion that there was an ulterior motive for this prosecution. He more than exercised his discretion. He abused that discretion in the grossest way. A guidelines range of 234 to 288 months may have been more severe than most thought appropriate, Ellis reduced that to less than twenty per cent of the bottom of those guidelines at 47 months less nine months credit for time served.

The sentence, even in the face of not granting a three-point adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, seems to indicate a disdain for white-collar prosecution in general, which those who have appeared before him, have stated he has exhibited in the past. He made clear his displeasure at the government’s prosecution, which was exhibited on more that one occasion by his verbalizations and his rulings at trial interfering in the government’s introduction of evidence and testimony.

The depth and breadth of the criminality was set forth in the prosecution’s memorandum, which Ellis chose to ignore. This was not a “one-off” as Ellis seemed to alludes to, but a lifetime systematic course of conduct. Manafort is a criminal in every sense of the word, deserving far more than he received.

The saving grace is that Manafort must face sentencing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson next week. She has likewise indicated a disdain for a party in her case. Jackson is the judge who ordered Manafort into custody for his actions while out on bond. It was before her that Manafort entered into a plea agreement, which mandated his truthful and complete cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation, to which Manafort chose to not cooperate fully, but to actually lie to investigators and grand jurors a clear attemp to obstruct justice.

The hope is Jackson corrects Ellis’ lack of perspective and balance. I expect that Jackson will sentence Manafort to an appropriate term intended, not only to send a message to all those who would engage in the crimes in which he engaged, but to give him his just desserts. Whether it amounts to a “life” sentence or not, anything less than 120 to 144 months would be a true miscarriage of justice, in light of the fact that those guilty of far less egregious behavior receive greater sentences than Manafort received from Ellis.

Anonymous said...

Manafort's sentence was a joke, but how about the sentence Judge Sayfie gave to the young man that set a caged cat on fire? OUTRAGEOUS. A withhold and probation? What a disgusting display of indifference to the suffering of a helpless animal.

Her snide comment that the SAO wouldn't seek jail for doing this a human victim was idiotic, at best. At worst, it shows how much contempt she has for law enforcement and the SAO. Hopefully her leniency toward a psychotic sadist will cost her the robe.

Anonymous said...

a serial killer in the making

Anonymous said...

12:32,

That is an outstanding post!

Anonymous said...

12:32's post is not outstanding unless you are a "progressive." Manafort would not even be in the system except for a special prosecutor whose appointment (not his doing) was predicated upon false information. Manafort's prosecution is political, but the best part of all of this is that the Dems are being punished so soon and so seriously. Their anti-Semitic Muslims and just anti-Semites are showing their ugly heads. The recently elected new wave children make proposals that are ridiculous because they are ridicules, but AOC is showing that she can engage in election funding fraud with the best of them.
I think the Dems should just come out and pass a bill that does not require the Central Americans to come here at all, but upon request makes them citizens with pre-printed proxies for the Democratic ticket and wire transfers of financial benefits of citizens.
Who would have thought that Trump would be a shoe-in for a second term before the new wav morons of 2018 were elected. Then, as further entertainment, are the reparations-seeking presidential candidates. So much entertainment and lots of time to watch it. Oh, and by the way, SHAME ON SHALALA AND WASSERMAN SCHULTZ! When it comes to a choice of their careers or supporting Israel and Judaism, they come down on the same side as all political prostitutes.

Anonymous said...

Trump will compute his sentence to a total of 48 months. Stone and Flynn will get full pardons. The real injustice here is that the DA’s office in Manhattan is going to indict him for the very same conduct that Ellis sentenced him for. That is an outrage. Purely a political vendetta. There is a pending double jeopardy case before the supremes that hopefully will put this NY persecution to an end.

Anonymous said...

12:08,

That is also an out sanding post. I respect good advocacy


From 10:28 AM

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that a guy who roasts a cat and feeds it to his dog can still walk into a store and buy firearms.

what a country

Anonymous said...

1232:

"A lifetime systematic course of conduct" ???

LOL.

How does manafort's treatment compare to person of color tekashi 69?

https://thehollywoodunlocked.com/prosecutors-recommend-no-jail-time-tor-tekashi-69-as-part-of-plea/

Anonymous said...

How can you work within this system and not have contempt for law enforcement and the SAO?

Anonymous said...

9:30 AM: Well said, Judge Sayfie.