Posted Jul 05, 2007 03:26 pm CDT
President Bush sounded a lot like a criminal defense lawyer when he gave his reasons for commuting the sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
They are typical complaints about the federal system, Adam Liptak writes for the New York Times: Sentences are too long. Judges are allowed to consider facts that haven’t been proven to a jury. The defendant’s good contributions to society are overlooked.
Now defense lawyers will use those same arguments in their own cases, Alabama lawyer Susan James told the Times.
“What you’re going to see is people like me quoting President Bush in every pleading that comes across every federal judge’s desk,” said James. She represents former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, sentenced to more than seven years in prison following a bribery conviction.
Law professor Ellen Podgor of Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla., said defense lawyers’ sentencing filings will probably be dubbed “Libby motions.” In effect, they will say, “My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.”