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August 24, 2010

"Sentencing likely to await Blagojevich retrial"

The title of this post is the headline of this new AP piece explaining why former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is unlikely to be sentenced until after prosecutors retry him on the many counts on which his first jury could not reach a verdict. Here are a few snippets from the start of the article:

He faces a prison term of up to five years — though how and when he is sentenced depends on a host of factors, including plans by prosecutors to retry him on 23 deadlocked counts and Blagojevich's own vow to appeal the conviction.

Lying to authorities carries the least severe penalty of the charges Blagojevich faced in that first trial, and some legal observers believe that — based on sentencing guidelines — he could get six months to three years on that charge alone....

But even without a retrial of Blagojevich, the governor known for his coifed haircut and expensive suits likely would not be crossing through a prison gate anytime soon.  It can normally take more than a year to get to sentencing after a conviction as officials compile sentencing reports and the appeals process runs its course.  And this case is far from straightforward.

There are so many potential complications in sentencing Blagojevich right away that all sides, including the judge, will likely agree to wait, said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor.  "There is no way he's sentenced before a second trial," he said. "It's not happening."

No one knows yet when a second trial will even get under way. It could be a few months or more than a year. A hearing set for Thursday could shed light on that.

August 24, 2010 at 07:34 AM | Permalink

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