Powered by TypePad

« Republican Debate Transcript | Main | Henke's Back And Thompson's Got 'Im »

June 06, 2007

Comments

anduril

OT, I shot from the lip, or fingertips anyway. Looking further up the thread, I see that commutation leaves open the possibility of later pardon. I like that, too. However, the fella making that initial suggestion opposes pardon--which is the dichotomy I was responding to.

cathyf

Call me cold and vicious, but ameliorating the damage done to Libby is only my second priority; my first priority is the damage that this case has done to the Rule of Law. Anything which would moot Libby's appeal means that the precedents set at his trial would stand.

We have Walton prohibiting the defense from even mentioning Plame's status, and then after the defense had its last word allowing the prosecutor to build his final "rebuttal" around it, and then to build the sentence around it. I'm also mighty disturbed about the treatment of the juror who repeatedly asked about Plame's status, and the interaction in the jurors' minds between the judge scolding the juror for bringing up the topic, and then responding limply to Fitzgerald building his entire "rebuttal" around it.

And refusing to let the defense call Mitchell to impeach Russert. (At the time, somebody found some DoJ guidelines which discussed the hypothetical of a witness who first says X, publicly, not as part of any investigation, and before there is any problem with saying X. Then later, after X being true becomes some sort of problem for someone, the witness tells investigators that X is not true after all. The guidelines clearly state that the presumption should be that the witness told the truth in the first case and lied to investigators. I have no idea who posted the guidelines, but they seemed pretty much right on as far as matching the Mitchell case and Walton just ruled the exact opposite.)

We have the exclusion of the memory expert -- who could have explained that it is extremely likely to forget, conflate, and time shift certain types of details. With that testimony the defense could have shown that a few relatively trivial memory failures of very common types we could construct multiple very likely scenarios where Libby and all of the witnesses were quite simply telling the truth about what they remembered, to the best of their memories, and any "contradictions" were merely minor memory failures.

If Bush pardons Libby, then all those precedents stand. If Bush commutes Libby's sentence, is there also the chance that the appeals court will rule his appeal moot? Fitzgerald has taken Scooter Libby and the entire Rule of Law to the other side of the Looking Glass. Certainly Bush has the power, with a pardon, to rescue Libby. But it's not just Libby who needs rescuing -- only a higher court overturning Walton's rulings can "pardon" the rest of us from having to live with the precedents that his rulings set.

catsrule

Regardless of what we think, a jury did find Libby guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of false statements and obstruction. A pardon does suggest that Libby took the fall for higher ups. A commutation just punks the judge fo issuing an outrageous sentence, which is exactly what ought to happen here.

I know that makes Libby a convicted felon, but if he can't get this flimsy verdict overturned on appeal then I am not going to feel too sorry for him.

clarice

I just spent a half-hour screaming on Danish tv where they asked me to be on a panel discussing the case--I cannot believe how ignorant of the facts people are..Though I hat tip the arabic gentleman who said in any other country in the world Wilson would be in jail for disclosing a classified operation.

clarice

cathyf there are consequences besides a sentence for being found guilty--It would be inappropriate I think for the Ct to refuse to entertain an appeal simply because the sentence had already been reduced.

anduril

--I cannot believe how ignorant of the facts people are--

Just read some of the conservative pundits out there--prominent attorneys among them--who think a commutation with no pardon would be dandy. People like Hinderaker at Powerline who spent more time following beauty pageants than the case, and now feels free to weigh in.

Sara

Comey back in the center of controversy along with ::drumroll:: his puppeteer Schmucky Schumer:

Via < href="http://levin.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NzU3ZDdjYzg4NGViZWE2OGVlYmY0ODdlY2JiZDk1M2M=">Mark Levine:

The Comey Doctrine

Here’s a question for any high-school civics student: Does the vice president of the United States have right to meet with Justice Department officials over a major national security issue and express his opinion? Time’s up. The answer, of course, is yes.

Yet, the Washington Post, taking its cue from Chuck Schumer, wants its readers to believe that when Cheney expressed his support for the NSA intercept program, he was doing something untoward.

Of course, Schumer is offended that the vice president would express his view to subordinates at the Justice Department. Yet, when Schumer, a member of a different branch of government, tried to influence the Department, including his demand for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the phony Valerie Plame matter, that was perfectly fine.

Now, James Comey appears repeatedly at the center of these stories. He has become Schumer’s favorite former Justice Department official. He was Attorney General John Ashcroft’s deputy and served for many years in the United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan. I am told that Comey is no Schumer lackey. But there must be some relationship. Maybe they don’t kiss, but they’re certainly flirting in public.

We are told that eight Justice officials were prepared to resign if the White House had insisted on something or other related to the NSA intercept program. I wish they had. It’s not as if they couldn’t be replaced or that the Justice Department was the best run agency in the federal government. Indeed, it might have spared us the Lewis Libby debacle, in which Comey played a central role.

As we all know, it was Comey who appointed his old colleague and friend, Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the Plame matter. And in his delegation to Fitzgerald, Comey authorized Fitzgerald to undertake his investigation “independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department [of Justice].

So, let’s deconstruct the Comey Doctrine of Governance. Comey must be free to set national security policy without input from the vice president of the United States, and Comey’s friend, Fitzgerald, must be free to conduct an investigation without supervision from the Justice Department. In other words, Jim Comey gets to decide who has power and who does not – with input from Schumer, of course.

Sara

Sorry for screwing the Link

Jane

If Bush pardons Libby, then all those precedents stand.

Cathy,

Not really. Precedent is generally established on appeal. There is no bound record of a trial, and it rarely serves any value at all in future procedings, primarily because at the trail level you are settling the facts of the case, for all purposes.

An appeal deals with the law, is written down and put in books (usually) and becomes precedent. So if you really want to avoid precedent a pardon is perfect. What you may not be able to stop is practice, and Fitz established a bunch of bad ones in this case.

anduril

Levin gets it.

anduril

Linking is a hassle, so here are two paste jobs--go find them if you want the links. The jerk they're talking about is Derbyshire, whom I long ago stopped reading:

---------------------------------
The Corner

Libby, Ctd. [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Joseph Bottum writes : "But, then, why should the president act, when even much of the conservative press seems willing to forget the man who is Scooter Libby. Here, for instance, is the reaction on the webpages of National Review: 'Libby? Heck, he’ll be all right, and a taste of low life might educate him some.' Rich? Ramesh? Jonah? Jay? Kathryn? Kate? Are any of you reading what your writers are saying? This is vile." Yes, it is vile, and dumb, but I guess I'm inured to it.

--------------------------------------
First Things, a religious journal:


Standing Up for Scooter Libby

By Joseph Bottum
Thursday, June 7, 2007, 8:51 AM

Scooter Libby was sentenced on Tuesday to thirty months in jail and a $250,000 fine. And I can’t much stand the bloodsports of American politics anymore.

At the time of his conviction, I wrote a small essay about my friendship with Scooter—others knew him better, but we had a genuine literary friendship, free from the politics that infects too much conversation in America these days. And I, along with many others, wrote a letter to the sentencing judge pleading for mercy. Bill Kristol has perhaps the strongest reaction to this week’s imposition of an enormous sentence. And Kristol’s furious indictment of President Bush for his failure to act seems exactly right.

But, then, why should the president act, when even much of the conservative press seems willing to forget the man who is Scooter Libby. Here, for instance, is the reaction on the webpages of National Review: “Libby? Heck, he’ll be all right, and a taste of low life might educate him some.” Rich? Ramesh? Jonah? Jay? Kathryn? Kate? Are any of you reading what your writers are saying? This is vile.

I was so angry and hurt that I thought I would write that I would never read National Review again. But it isn’t true. The world is too small not to continue to know the magazine, to read it, and to interact with it.

Still, this much is true: From the moment Scooter Libby was indicted, all the way down to this moment of his sentencing, I have judged the character of many acquaintances in the worlds of writers, public intellectuals, and conservative politicians—their courage and their trustworthiness—by a simple measure: whether or not they stood up for Scooter Libby.

The person who could write that line for National Review—“Libby? Heck, he’ll be all right, and a taste of low life might educate him some”—may be an interesting writer, and we might find that he’s a fun person to spend a little time with. But we also know now that he is not trustworthy when trust really matters, and we know that he is not brave.

cathyf

Well, Bush is a notorious poker player who doesn't tip his hand unless he needs to. If he were going to do what I want him to do, I would think, first, wait until we see if Walton denies the appeal bond. If he doesn't, then Bush should just keep his mouth shut. If he does, then the next step will be to appeal that decision -- and I think that appeal has an excellent chance of succeeding. Only if the appeals court denies the appeal bond should Bush commute the sentence.

I think that Walton is playing a dangerous game here. He is afraid that if Libby is allowed to appeal, then the appeals court is going to spank him very badly. So I think he is trying to force Bush to pardon Libby so as to moot the appeal and make it all go away. (Because, you see, a side effect of pardoning Libby is that it also "pardons" Walton and Fitzgerald and Russert by making any punishment for them dead letter.)

If that's what's in Walton's head, well something about bringing a knife to a gun fight comes to mind... If we can figure out that Bush can commute the sentence to let the appeals go forward, I'm sure that the White House can figure it out, too. Also, I have noticed that there is one value that judges have which cuts across all idealogical and philosophical lines and all levels of the court system -- they get really really really pissed off at people playing them for fools. If the appeals court decides that Walton is trying to screw with them, they will overrule him and grant the appeal bond so fast that Walton's head will be spinning for a week.

On that same line of reasoning, what Bush should want (as the guy who stood up twice and swore to defend and protect the constitution) is for the judicial branch to fix Walton's mess. The most effective way to do that is to give them enough room to do it -- anything which a prickly judge (and prickliness is a notorious aspect of judical character) would interpret as interference should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. What Bush should avoid at pretty much all costs is setting up a situation where the appeals court believes that Bush is going to pardon Libby anyway, because that would just piss them off, and who knows what sort of disaster they will cause if they decide to get revenge.

Rick Ballard

Thanks, Jane. I didn't think that trials in and of themselves set precedent. I'm really a bit leery of the appeal process. Between Kelo and McCain-Finegold I don't think that betting on a hoped for outcome would be a wise decision.

BTW - I hope you don't retire. You're in an influential position in what you're doing in mediation. You have the perfect opportunity to give practical lessons to attorneys who don't exhibit acceptable ethical standards.

clarice

cathyf, as usual, BRILLIANT.

cathyf
Still, this much is true: From the moment Scooter Libby was indicted, all the way down to this moment of his sentencing, I have judged the character of many acquaintances in the worlds of writers, public intellectuals, and conservative politicians—their courage and their trustworthiness—by a simple measure: whether or not they stood up for Scooter Libby.
Amen, Brother Joseph.
Jane

I'm really a bit leery of the appeal process.

Me too. Of course appeals have never been my baliwick, but my days of believing the truth will prevail seem to have abandoned me.

Thanks for the kind words. I only want to retire on occasion and this week has been one of those occassions. I've had more than one taste of the lack of ethics that plagues my profession this week. I can however, honestly say, that is not the norm.

Sara

Bill Kristol saying he's upset over Libby makes me want to gag. Bill Kristol doesn't give a flying fart about Scooter Libby. The Libby mess is just another excuse for him to bash Bush and undermine the President.

Jane

Cathy,

I honestly do not think that Walton is worried about the appeal. Clarice's issue about the appointment may be the biggest issue, and we are not even sure that will be appealed. It may not be timely, or there may be no standing - Clarice would know more about that.

But the standard for Appeal is pretty high. Libby has to demonstrate that what Walton decided was wrong, and that it had an impact on the jury's decision. So for example, Libby can argue that Walton have allowed a memory expert, and at the same time the Court can agree but say that his failure had no impact on the verdict. If so, no reversal. It is by no means a slam dunk. An Appeals Ct Judge could absolutely think that Libby got screwed and there was no reversable error and thus the verdict stands.

wow power leveling


wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
ffxi power leveling
ffxi powerleveling
lotro powerleveling
lotro power leveling

wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
ffxi power leveling
ffxi powerleveling
ffxi
ffxi gil
lotro powerleveling
lotro power leveling
lotro gold

wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
wow powerleveln
wow power leveln
world of warcraft power leveln
world of warcraft powerleveln

ffxi powerleveling
coh powerleveling
cov power leveling

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame