By David Van Os. Link
Libby commutation in conflict with recent Supreme Court decision Hotlist
In a decision announced on June 21, 2007, the US Supreme Court in Rita v. United States upheld as reasonable under federal sentencing law a prison sentence of 33 months for the offense of perjury committed in testimony to a grand jury, which is virtually the same sentence imposed on Scooter Libby for the same offense.
The defendant Victor Rita was a 25-year military veteran with 35 commendations, awards and medals for his military service, and in poor medical condition. He contended that the length of his prison term was unreasonable in light of his exemplary service to the country and his health circumstances. The Supreme Court granted review in order to examine and clarify the issue of how to determine the reasonableness of a prison sentence.
Twelve days after the Supreme Court held as a matter of law that a sentence of 33 months of prison for perjury was reasonable for a decorated veteran in poor health, the president,
whose sworn duty is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, commuted Scooter Libby’s similar sentence for the same offense as “excessive”. The federal Sentencing Guidelines say that 33 months is the recommended minimum sentence for the crime of perjury, with the recommended range being 33-41 months. According to the nation’s president, however, the Sentencing Guideline for this is too harsh. Victor Rita’s sentence should be commuted, don’t you think?
David Van Os
San Antonio, TX
Former Democratic nominee for Texas Attorney General, 2006
Did Bu$h just had defense lawyers a gift? The NY Times thinks so.
Indeed, Mr. Bush’s decision may have given birth to a new sort of legal document.
“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.’“
Let’s just call this what it is: Amnesty. Except it’s forced amnesty because Libby had already said that he was not going to be the “Sacrificial Lamb” for Rove.
“They’re trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb,” attorney Theodore Wells said, recalling Libby’s end of the conversation. “I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected.”
Libby called White House fall guy
White House sacrificed him to protect Rove, defense lawyer says as perjury trial opens.
Wells said “[Karl Rove] was viewed as a political genius. … He had to be protected. The person who was to be sacrificed was Scooter Libby.” According to Wells, the vice president tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade White House colleagues to publicly clear Libby’s name as the source of the leak.
What is The Price of Libby’s Silence?