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October 22, 2008

Will Senator Ted Stevens soon be thinking extra hard about sentencing laws he helped pass?

As detailed in this Washington Post report, a federal jury in DC "today will begin deliberating two conflicting views of Senator Ted Stevens, the powerful Alaska Republican charged with lying on financial disclosure forms to hide more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations to the Alaska house."  The outcome of these jury deliberations will decide, of course, whether Senator Stevens has to give serious thought to federal sentencing realities.  It's probably inappropriate for me to already start speculating about the kind of sentence he might be facing, but it is so much fun.

Senator Stevens' long service in the US Senate adds an interesting and historic twist to this case.  To my knowledge, Senator Stevens could become the only person who has voted on every major piece of modern federal crime legislation to be subject to the federal sentencing consequences of all those votes.  Senator Stevens has been in the Senate for nearly 40 years; though I am not aware of him having an active role in the passage of the Sentencing Reform Act or other major sentencing legislation, there is still great irony to the possibility he will face sentencing pursuant to sentencing reform laws he helped make a reality.

Anyone daring enough to predict the outcome of jury deliberations and then possible sentencing?  Given his government position and the fact that Stevens testified at trial, he could be facing many sentencing enhancements under the guidelines if he is convicted.  But I have a gut feeling that, in part because of his age and other offender characteristics, Stevens will never see the inside of a federal prison cell even if he is convicted on all charges.

October 22, 2008 at 06:46 AM | Permalink

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