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June 28, 2007

A guidelines update on the Scrushy and Siegelman sentencings

This local story details that the federal judge has finished the "guidelines phase" of the sentencing trial for former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth Chairman Richard Scrushy:

A federal judge set a range of 10 to 12 years in prison for former Gov. Don Siegelman on Wednesday and a term of about 7 to 10 years for former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy using federal sentencing guidelines.  U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller must sentence the two men within those terms unless he finds extenuating circumstances.

The judge said he expects to be able to complete the sentencing phase today. The sentencing phase of the June 2006 trial, in which Siegelman and Scrushy were found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud, started Tuesday.  The former governor was also convicted of obstruction of justice.

U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin said prosecutors are happy with the range shared by the judge even though it is not as stiff as they requested. The sentencing guidelines set prison time at less than federal prosecutors wanted. They asked for 30 years for Siegelman and 25 years for Scrushy.

The attorneys for the defendants said they will continue to argue for less prison time because of the men's years of public service and the potential impact on their families. Federal prosecutors said the men should receive longer sentences because they are responsible for multiple criminal acts over several years to the detriment of Alabama citizens.  Prosecutors maintain that a firm sentence is needed to deter future criminal acts by public officials.

As he left court for the day, Scrushy said he had no reaction to the sentencing guidelines. Siegelman, on the other hand, said he is pleased that the judge appears open-minded.

It is sadly telling that, even after Booker, the newspaper reports that the district judge "must sentence the two men within [the guidelines] unless he finds extenuating circumstances."  Especially after Rita, I do not think this is legally accurate, but judges may well feel it is practically accurate in light of some post-Booker circuit precedents.

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June 28, 2007 at 07:19 AM | Permalink


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It's being reported that the court has agreed that it can take into account charges on which the jury actually found *for* Siegelman, because they provide "some" evidence of wrongdoing.

Is that really legal? I'm a lawyer who doesn't practice criminal law, so I dunno, but it sounds bizarre.

Posted by: Anderson | Jun 28, 2007 4:12:52 PM

The Don went to his Consigliore, Fred. Yes Godfather? How do we keep this smuck from yapping his gums and implicating No. 2? You can commute his sentence Godfather. That way he has no compelling reason to snitch and then at the end of your term when the Ditaglia family takes over the White House they wont be able to put any pressure on him to snitch. The conversation which was recorded, then went on in Italian and no one then present for the hearing of the taple could understand what else was spoken of, other than the word 'payolla', followed by a nine minute gap. An effort is being made by reporters from the Washington Post to obtain a copy of the tape.

Posted by: M. P. Bastian | Jul 9, 2007 8:05:39 AM

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