Posted by Charles II on January 11, 2013
(Photograph of David Margolis from Joe Palazzolo, Main Justice)
(Photograph of Lt. Col. Ronald L. Rodgers from Dafna Linzner, ProPublica)
Everytime there’s a broken system, there are people inside it, breaking it. If they can be named, confronted, and (ideally) ejected, the system can be fixed. Scott Horton took a long step toward naming the dysfunction in DoJ:
The IG’s report focuses on the case of Clarence Aaron, a black athlete who played an indirect role in a minor drug transaction and who became the victim of hyperaggressive prosecution and sentencing. While handling the case, [Lt. Col. Ronald L.] Rodgers misrepresented the views of both the United States attorney who made a pardon recommendation and the judge who seconded it, resulting in the pardon’s being denied. Aaron continues to languish in federal prison.
In the report, the inspector general’s office also flagged manipulations of the pardons process by the DOJ’s senior career staffer, associate deputy attorney general David Margolis. A master political triangulator, Margolis is said by alumni of the pardons office to have intervened routinely to block pardons because he believed they would reflect poorly on the department’s prosecutions record. Margolis is also the man who stood by and allowed the politicization of the appointments and removal process that led to the U.S. attorneys scandal; who blocked efforts to obtain an internal review of the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman (a prosecution that sprang largely from Margolis’s own mistaken judgments); and who reversed recommendations by the DOJ’s professional-responsibility section to discipline the authors of the department’s torture memoranda. (emphasis added)
Injustice in the short run is all too common. But there can’t be injustice in the long run without someone to prevent fair case review. Now, at least, you have two names and two faces.
Posted in abuse of power, Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on June 22, 2012
Don Siegelman’s appeal to the Supreme Court needs your assistance. Our last legally-elected president, algore, requests your doing your duty to challenge this miscarriage of justice.
Oh, and just adding my own commentary here– F.U., Eric Holder.
Added, 6/23. The Supreme Court has declined to hear Siegelman’s appeal. Apparently the Gore mail went out at about the time the USSC was deciding to be a bunch of jerks for maybe the millionth time. Doesn’t mean that the Legal Defense Fund doesn’t need money, but it does mean that there’s now no hope that Siegelman will get justice in this lifetime.
And please accept my apologies for not checking on the status of the case before posting.
Posted in Don Siegelman, Supreme Court | 7 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2011
Jim White reports that the essential final decision on whether Governor Don Siegelman is set free or continues to be jailed will take place Wednesday, January 20th:
When the definitive history of the dismantling of the system of justice during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States is written, the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will deserve its own chapter. The next episode in this sad saga will play out on Wednesday in a satellite courtroom for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida. I will try to be in the courtroom for the oral arguments, but unfortunately, the Eleventh Circuit allows no electronic devices of any type in the courtroom, so I will have to take notes and then prepare a report from the notes.
The panel who will hear arguments is Gerald Tjoflat, J.L. Edmondson and James C. Hill, the same panel who heard the previous Siegelman appeal. They are described as experienced and respected, but were appointed by Republicans and are conservative. Note, for example, that Tjoflat was one of the very few judges arguing to keep Terry Schiavo alive.
Siegelman has been punished by what might well be called judicial attainder: activist judges making laws after the fact. We have watched the right not make any protest over this outrageous abuse of the courts over the course of five years.
Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Don Siegelman | 2 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2009
Scott Horton writes:
Federal prosecutors who brought a controversial corruption prosecution against trial lawyer Paul Minor and two Mississippi judges, Wes Teel and John Whitfield, suffered a one-two punch in federal courts this week. The result is that Minor, Teel, and Whitfield are now all likely to be freed.
An opinion handed down in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans struck down convictions for bribery, finding that the charges, even if true, did not actually constitute a crime….The charges took the novel view that campaign contributions and campaign finance assistance can be viewed as bribes paid to judges. But this rationale was applied to only one side of the political ledger.
This is how despicable the Republican-controlled justice system became. Democrats were judged to have accepted bribes simply for accepting campaign contributions, even though they could not be said to have done anything in return. Republicans were never similarly charged, as of course they should not be.
The Southern courts are heavily stacked with Republicans, so the Appeals Court that is rectifying this case, as well as the Supreme Court which is likely to throw out other charges as unconstitutional, are Republican. Nor are the hands of the Obama Justice Department clean, though whether that is due to Monica Goodling hires or to Eric Holder is unclear.
But the wrongful charges were brought by Republicans, tried by Republicans and wrongfully judged by Republicans. Paul Minor spent time in jail. His wife died while he was there, and he was prevented from being with her, even briefly, near the end by Republicans. There is a deep evil in what was done to him.
Posted in activist judges, corruption, Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman, evil | 11 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on August 6, 2009
Feeney Reportedly Off Hook in Abramoff Probe
DoJ said to have dropped two-year investigation into corrupt former Florida Rep’s lobbyist-funded trip to Scotland…
The Holder DoJ is incapable of prosecuting Republicans, but continues to pursue Don Siegelman and Paul Minor.
Posted in Department of Injustice, DoJ, Don Siegelman, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2009
…were discussed on C-Span
The Flash version took several minutes to load at pretty good bandwidth. (Update2: Scott Horton as moderator. 1. Elliot Mincberg, 2. Andrew Kreig, 3. Judge U.W. Clemon, 4. Charles Walker, Jr., 5. Bruce Fein 6. Bill Yeomans 7. Cliff Arnebeck 8. Judge Oliver Diaz, introduced by Gail Sistrunk of Project Save Justice 9. Puerto Rico Sen. Eduardo Bhatia. Judge U. W. Clemon gave the stemwinder… at August in Alabama speed, that’s a notable achievement. He explained the early phases of the assault on Siegelman and how it made it clear that the prosecution was politics by other means. Sistrunk mentioned a video– see Larisa for clips or go here for The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove– showing all the cases of political prosecution; she suggested looking at the Shields Report, which is in the Congressional Record. OPR has sat on reports for years. Diaz told the story of Paul Minor: Bronze Star, VN; largest MS donor to Democrats; 10th largest donor nationally to John Edwards. Bhatia said that hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans did not vote in Florida 2000 and 2004.)
C-Span did not make it easy to see this show and re-aired it without notice today. I hope they will air it again… you can encourage that with e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Horton was one of the speakers (John Conyers was scheduled to keynote, but he seems to have fish of his own to fry, fish that have to do with nonpolitically-motivated prosecution). On Horton’s blog, No Comment, he has some interesting news about why Rick Renzi may escape conviction. From Murray Waas, The Hill:
In the fall of 2006, one day after the Justice Department granted permission to a U.S. attorney to place a wiretap on a Republican congressman suspected of corruption, existence of the investigation was leaked to the press — not only compromising the sensitive criminal probe but tipping the lawmaker off to the wiretap. Career federal law enforcement officials who worked directly on a probe of former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) said they believe that word of the investigation was leaked by senior Bush Administration political appointees in the Justice Department in an improper and perhaps illegal effort to affect the outcome of an election.
Horton, quoting bits from Waas:
The newspaper [Arizona Republic] noted that “the federal official would not discuss whether the Justice Department was being manipulated for political purposes. However, the official said it is unusual for the department to publicly acknowledge concerns about the accuracy of media reports.” The unnamed Justice official seems to have been a very busy beaver. The Arizona Republic story notes that he had contacted two other newspapers to persuade them that their stories about Renzi were wrong….Waas notes that sources involved in the Justice Department’s internal probe of the U.S. attorneys firings, conducted jointly by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General, concluded that the person must have been a political appointee. Their report casts suspicion directly on one individual: Brian Roehrkasse.
Posted in Department of Injustice, DoJ, Don Siegelman | 7 Comments »
Posted by MEC on June 4, 2009
Justice Department Admits New Mistakes
Attorney General Eric Holder asked a court Thursday to release two imprisoned former Alaska state lawmakers after the Justice Department found prosecutors improperly handled evidence in their trials on corruption charges.
So if the Justice Department is reviewing the cases of convicted government officials, when will they get around to noticing that the indictment, trial, conviction, and sentencing of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman comprised a complete travesty?
Posted in Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on May 18, 2009
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
I am writing to express deep concern about the unequal standard of justice applied to Governor Don Siegelman, to demonstrate that it seems to be part of a broad pattern of selective prosecution under your leadership, and to explain why if it continues it will lead to a breakdown in the Department of Justice.
The Siegelman case was one of a number of cases prosecuted by the Bush Department of Justice which appeared to be politically motivated and in which it was unclear that there was any underlying crime. Two of the charges against Mr. Siegelman have been dismissed, there is evidence of misbehavior by both the prosecution and the jury, and yet the prosecutors just recommended that his sentence be increased! One cannot help but contrast this with the trial of Senator Ted Stevens, in which the Senator seemed to have corruptly accepted favors but was let off with an apology because of prosecutorial misconduct. There are other cases of suspect prosecutions, such as that of Paul Minor, where prosecutorial vindictiveness rather than a commitment to doing justice seems to be in the ascendant, and no steps taken to redress the wrongs. How can this be called justice?
[The letter goes on to point out that torture, the 100 homicides of detainees, and the US attorney scandal are all things that probably need a bit of prosecuting].
You too, can write to ask Eric Holder why the Department of Justice is behaving as oddly as it is.
Posted in Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman, torture, US attorney firings, US Attorney scandal | 10 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on March 7, 2009
Via Larisa Alexandrovna, a documentary on the extent of the politicization of the justice system under Karl Rove. Watch this (it’s a three part series) and tell me that we should not despair about the corruption of the courts:
According to this documentary, there are hundreds of cases like Don Siegelman’s.
Posted in Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman, Karl Rove | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on March 6, 2009
Bob Johnson, AP:
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld most of the bribery and corruption charges against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and all of the charges against former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down two of the seven charges that Siegelman was convicted of and ordered a new sentencing hearing. That means Siegelman’s seven-year sentence could be reduced.
But he won’t get off entirely: The court upheld key bribery, conspiracy and obstruction counts against him in what prosecutors described as a scheme that put Scrushy on a state hospital regulatory board when he was at the helm of HealthSouth. The court upheld all six counts against Scrushy and his sentence of almost seven years.
See also dKos, TPM, original court opinion, and Emptywheel.
How will those judges feel if it is proven that Siegelman was jailed for purely political reasons? That would make them the equivalent of the judges in Stalin’s kangaroo courts, sending people off for a “tenner” for speaking the truth.
Posted in Don Siegelman | 5 Comments »