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July 5, 2011
"McCann: Clemens facing 15-21 months in jail"
The title of this post is the headline of this new story including an expert's sentencing prediction if (and when?) former all-star pitcher Rogers Clemens is convicted in his upcoming federal trial. Here are the basics:
Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann joined the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about the perjury trial of former Red Sox star Roger Clemens, who allegedly lied to Congress when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs while playing, that begins this week with jury selection and opening statements by both sides....
If Clemens is convicted on charges that he lied to Congress about not using performance-enhancers, he could face jailtime of 15-21 months, according to McCann, however that number could change a bit.
"That's the recommendation from the sentencing guidelines," McCann said. "Now [U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton] could deviate from that. He could say, 'Well, Clemens is really unapologetic. I don't like him. Let's give him a stronger sentence. Let's really send a message.' Or he could find Clemens more appealing for whatever reason and give him a shorter sentence. But the targeted range is 15-21 months. Now if he's only convicted of one or two counts, then Walton will likely assign a much shorter sentence. It's possible he could assign home confinement which is what Barry Bonds, there's a good shot that's what he'll get ultimately."
As is my tendency, I am disinclined to make sentencing predictions early in a case (especially before even a trial starts). I am inclined to be amused that Clemens' already high-profile trial is now likely to get even more attention now that all the legal pundits and talking heads are not going to have the Casey Anthony case to cover much longer (basics here).
July 5, 2011 at 04:11 PM | Permalink
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"Now [U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton] could deviate from that. He could say, 'Well, Clemens is really unapologetic. I don't like him. Let's give him a stronger sentence. Let's really send a message.' Or he could find Clemens more appealing for whatever reason and give him a shorter sentence."
It would be hard to come up with a more succinct explanation of why we need to bring back mandatory guidelines. The fact the a given judge "likes" or "dislikes" a defendant could hardly be less relevant to a just sentence. Idiosyncrasy and personal taste have no role whatever in a system pledged to the rule of law.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2011 4:43:48 PM
A judge who imposes a harsher sentence merely because "I don't like him" will be a judge that gets reversed.
Posted by: DEJ | Jul 5, 2011 6:49:22 PM
"A judge who imposes a harsher sentence merely because 'I don't like him' will be a judge that gets reversed."
Sure -- if the judge says in haec verba, "I'm giving the defendant a longer sentence because I don't like him." But if the judge, with exactly the same sentiment, says, "I'm giving the defendant a longer sentence because I find as a matter of fact that his demeanor at trial showed that he has no respect for the court and little for the law," gets affirmed.
Do you disagree?
With a discretion-uber-alles system, this is what we have bought.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2011 7:36:07 PM