Wednesday :: Jul 4, 2007

The Birth Of The "Libby Motion"

by Steve

Bush’s action to help Scooter runs directly against what Alberto Gonzales has been doing against everyday Americans, including long-serving members of the Armed Forces, when they have sought lenient sentencing from a judge. As a result of what Bush did for Scooter, defense attorneys around the country are likely to use a “Libby motion” and Bush’s own words in seeking relief for their clients.

“By saying that the sentence was excessive, I wonder if he understood the ramifications of saying that,” said Ellen S. Podgor, who teaches criminal law at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla. “This is opening up a can of worms about federal sentencing.”
"I anticipate that we’re going to get a new motion called ‘the Libby motion,’ ” Professor Podgor said. “It will basically say, ‘My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.'"
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said last month that the department would push for legislation making federal sentences tougher and less flexible.
Similarly, in a case decided two weeks ago by the United States Supreme Court and widely discussed by legal specialists in light of the Libby case, the Justice Department persuaded the court to affirm the 33-month sentence of a defendant whose case closely resembled that against Mr. Libby. The defendant, Victor A. Rita, was, like Mr. Libby, convicted of perjury, making false statements to federal agents and obstruction of justice. Mr. Rita has performed extensive government service, just as Mr. Libby has. Mr. Rita served in the armed forces for more than 25 years, receiving 35 commendations, awards and medals. Like Mr. Libby, Mr. Rita had no criminal history for purposes of the federal sentencing guidelines.
The judges who sentenced the two men increased their sentences by taking account of the crimes about which they lied. Mr. Rita’s perjury concerned what the court called “a possible violation of a machine-gun registration law”; Mr. Libby’s of a possible violation of a federal law making it a crime to disclose the identities of undercover intelligence agents in some circumstances.

A political hack who destroys an intelligence asset at the direction of his Republican superiors gets no time at all, probably no probation, an eventual pardon, and a $250,000 fine to be paid for by his legal defense fund bankrolled by wealthy Beltway slugs. But a 25-year decorated member of the armed services is told by Alberto’s Justice Department that 33 months is fair, and a Democratic governor is told that more than twice that amount is fair.

Republicans want the rule of law to apply to everyone - except them and those who write checks for them. If you are an illegal immigrant, members of the armed services, or Democrats, the Bush Administration wants to throw the book at you.

Steve :: 7:01 AM :: Comments (30) :: Digg It!