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March 15, 2005

What sentence should former Gov Rowland get under Booker?

This past December (post-Blakely, but pre-Booker), former Connecticut Governor John Rowland pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal honest service, a felony that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison (background here).  According to this AP story, Rowland is due to be sentenced this Friday by Connecticut US District Court Judge Peter Dorsey and "more than 200 letters [have been sent] to the sentencing judge from both angry state residents and prominent supporters of the governor, including the president of Yale University."

The many letters sent to Judge Dorsey spotlights that Rowland's sentencing will serve as a fascinating case-study in the new world of Booker sentencing.  Unless the terms have changed, Rowland's federal plea deal (previously discussed here and here) calculates the guideline sentencing range of 15-21 months of imprisonment.  The plea agreement also contemplates that Rowland will argue for a downward departure from the guideline range of 15-21 months on various grounds related to his minor role in the offense and his professional and community contributions.

It will be interesting to see if Judge Dorsey chooses to follow the guidelines, or to depart, or to vary based on the 3553(a) sentencing factors.  I can think of good arguments to support all the possibilities.  Readers are encouraged to use the comments to indicate what they think the sentence should be (or to predict what they think it will be) given our new Booker realities.

March 15, 2005 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

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» Former Conn. Governor to Be Sentenced Friday from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland will be sentenced today in federal court. It looks like he will be going to jail for some period of time. From Connecticut blogger Kirby's Report: With former Governor John Rowland set to be sentenced... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 12:44:12 AM

» Former Conn. Governor to Be Sentenced Friday from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland will be sentenced today in federal court. It looks like he will be going to jail for some period of time. From Connecticut blogger Kirby's Report: With former Governor John Rowland set to be sentenced... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 12:46:07 AM

» Former Conn. Governor Sentenced - A Kiss from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Bump and Update: Former Governor John Rowland got a kiss from the Judge today at his sentencing. The Judge sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day, which means it's a ten month sentence. Federal good time is 54 days... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 7:12:33 PM

» Former Conn. Governor Sentenced - A Kiss from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Bump and Update: Former Governor John Rowland got a kiss from the Judge today at his sentencing. The Judge sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day, which means it's a ten month sentence. Federal good time is 54 days... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 7:15:43 PM

» Former Conn. Governor Sentenced - A Kiss from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Bump and Update: Former Governor John Rowland got a kiss from the Judge today at his sentencing. The Judge sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day , which means it's a ten month sentence. Federal good time is 54... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 7:18:07 PM

» Former Conn. Governor Sentenced - A Kiss from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Bump and Update: Former Governor John Rowland got a kiss from the Judge today at his sentencing. The Judge sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day , which means it's a ten month (and change) sentence. Federal good time... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 18, 2005 7:27:35 PM

Comments

Insofar as mnny federal judges think the guidelines are low for white collar offenses, Booker may hurt Rowland more than help. Also, it's hard to argue minor role when you're the recipient of a bribe in exchange for governmental action taken by you.

Posted by: Robert Little | Mar 15, 2005 11:42:32 AM

Also, when did "good works" give you a downward departure? We were told it didn't make a bit of difference that in our case Def had served his country over 14 years, had a letter from a 3-star general and others.

I think he should get the 15-21 range. No departures.

Posted by: ST | Mar 15, 2005 2:09:57 PM

Given high profile defendant and resultant press scrutiny, I figure 18 months.

Posted by: Richard Crane | Mar 15, 2005 2:29:08 PM

High profile case means the sentence will be within the guidelines range. The judge would fear that a lower sentence would result in a public outcry that "politicians always get more lenient treatment." On the other hand, he'd fear that a higher sentence would allow Rowland to claim that he's "being singled out for harsher treatment."

One notable thing about the guidelines was that it gave judges cover in this type of situation. Note, I didn't say one "good" thing.

Posted by: Alex E. | Mar 15, 2005 3:53:52 PM

Take into consideration that less than a year ago, Mayor Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport, Ct. (my client on appeal), who was convicted after trial of (mis)conduct similar to Gov. Rowland's, got nine years from another judge in the same district. That judge stated that good works in office were not a mitigating factor, as there was "no sliding scale for corruption." Ganim, of course, got no credit for "acceptance of responsibility" and suffered a two-level increase for "obstruction of justice" based on his trial testimony. Even allowing for those differences, a question of "unwarranted disparity between similar offenders convicted of similar offenses" (3553(a)(6)) may be perceived to arise here.

Posted by: Peter G | Mar 15, 2005 9:57:30 PM

death

Posted by: krs | Mar 16, 2005 8:32:28 AM

Rowland still has not admitted wrong doing, he continues to blame bad company. Unless he accepts responsibility, he should get the max plus.

Posted by: mimi | Mar 17, 2005 4:12:30 PM

I feel the fomer governor should get 12 months in prison no more no less. Several issues should be made clear; Mr. Rowland can not ever run for any public office, nor can he hold a license to sell insurance (his only other job prior to to becoming Governor at 37 years of age and his family's past insurance business) So in light of the fact that the taxpayers have spent a huge amount of money trying to find a major corruption case against Mr. Rowkand I feel the longer a prison term here the more his family suffers ie: his wife, childern, ex-wife (Mr. Rowland is behind on support payments to his ex-wife) I feel 5 years probation is more beneficial then prison time in as much as the less prison time and longer probation puts the burden of support for his family, daily facing the shame by seeing how his childern and wife must face the situation solely on Mr. Rowland. By reducing prison time and having a long probation saves the taxpayers money and pretty much ruins Mr. Rowlands career in politics.

Posted by: Jim | Mar 18, 2005 10:54:40 AM

It seems funny to me that all the "rumors" and subsequent investigations into the Rowland's affairs happened right after he sacked half the states work force. Most of those people have been re-hired by the state. In the State of CT. the largest employer is the State of CT. (Such a Socialist State) It seems to me that the state unions probably did all the grunt work for the liberal socialist rag, The Hartford Courant. Now Rowland was never convicted of taking bribes or quid pro quo, but was found guilty on lieing to investigators.

As a life long resident of the State of CT every time I think about liberal Politicians in the state, the real crooks, I get sick to my stomach. CT is really the "Peoples Republic of CT".

Lets see how well the democrats do running the state with their super majority that they now enjoy. I guess they can always hire more state workers, it helps to stuff the ballot box come November.

Posted by: Paul Bahre | Jan 28, 2007 4:28:16 PM

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