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Sentencing & Post-Conviction

Law-and-Order Libby Judge Under Fire

Posted Jun 27, 2007 6:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The product of a strict childhood under an authoritarian father, U.S. Dist. Judge Reggie Walton expects those who do the crime to do the time.

And that includes Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. But his two-and-a-half-year sentence for Libby in an obstruction of justice case concerning the outing of a CIA agent's identity is drawing fire from many who might ordinarily be more sympathetic to Walton's law-and-order views, reports Bloomberg.

In particular, some are questioning why the judge didn't stay Libby's prison sentence until he has time to appeal his conviction, and the lack of a stay is now the subject of an immediate appeal. If it fails, Libby may be jailed within weeks.

But Walton is holding the line against such arguments by legal academics and others, according to Bloomberg, refusing to grant what he apparently may see as special perks for the former top vice presidential aide. In what the news agency describes as "a caustic footnote" in an opinion in Libby's case, the judge encourages those questioning his sentence to "step to the plate and provide like assistance'' to other defendants "who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions."

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