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July 2, 2013

Does postponement of Jacksons' sentencing suggest big rulings are in the works?

High-profile white-collar federal sentencing proceedings always intrigue me, especially when they involve a cocktail of dynamic doctrinal and policy issues as is the case in the upcoming sentencings of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and his wife Sandi. But , as reported here by the Chicago Tribune, it now appears we will have to all wait a bit longer for the Jacksons' day of sentencing reckoning:

The South Side Democrats had been scheduled to learn their fates Wednesday, until the delay was announced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is not related to the pair.  A court spokesman said neither the prosecution nor defense asked for the postponement.

"The matter was rescheduled to accommodate the court's schedule and workload — neither side requested a continuance," said Jenna Gatski, a spokeswoman for the U.S. District Court.

Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to misusing about $750,000 in campaign cash. Sandi Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty to failing to report about $600,000 on income tax returns over several years.

The postponement was announced after a telephone conference call between the judge and the Jacksons, the court said. Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said the sentencings would not take place this week.

Jackson Jr., 48, faces 46 to 57 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, which are not mandatory. His lawyers want a sentence lower than what the guidelines suggest and assert that Jackson Jr., who reportedly has bipolar disorder, could not get proper medical care in prison. Federal prosecutors want him to serve a four-year sentence and to be placed on supervised release for three years after that.

Sandi Jackson, 49, faces one to two years in prison. Her attorneys want her sentenced to probation, saying the couple's two children, ages 9 and 13, need their mother. Prosecutors want her imprisoned for 18 months and put on supervised release for a year.

The question in the title of this post is my reaction to report that neither side sought a postponement and the indication that the change was "to accommodate the court's schedule and workload."  I would be very surprised if Judge Amy Berman Jackson had a trial or lots of other litigation matters crop up in the middle of this summer holiday week; reading these latest tea leaves now has me wondering (and weirdly excited) that this postponement is based in part on the judge's plans to issue a significant written opinion on federal sentencing law, policy and practice along with her sentencing ruling. (Or maybe the judge just has tickets to see Bryce Harper back playing again for the Washington Nationals during their homestand this week, and she decided it was more fitting to catch a baseball game than to deprive liberty right before we all celebrate Independence Day.)

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UPDATE:  This local article now reports that the Jacksons' sentencings have now been set for August 14.

July 2, 2013 at 01:35 PM | Permalink

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Another...another...another...sordid tie for the President.

|NYTimes. 2/24/13| "When Barack and Michelle Obama were married in Chicago two decades ago, Santita Jackson, a daughter
of the Rev.Jesse L. Jackson, sang at their wedding. When Mr. Obama ran for his first national office, he made sure he was
not stepping on the ambitions of her brother, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who later became a co-chairman of his 2008
presidential campaign.

- - - [Jesse Jr.] lobbied hard for Mr. Obama’s Senate seat, petitioning Gov.Rod R. Blagojevich, who would make the appointment; seeking letters of support from opinion makers; publicizing a poll his camp had commissioned.
Instead, his life fell apart. Mr. Blagojevich was arrested, charged with trying to solicit money or a job in exchange for the seat, and a friend of Mr. Jackson’s was accused..

- - - Now the younger Mr. Jackson, 47, who served 17 years as a congressman representing his hometown, is most likely headed
to prison . . [though at one time] People magazine named him Sexiest Politician.
Ms. Jackson, the oldest daughter of the most important black politician in the country, was one of [Michelle Robinson (Obama)'s] closest friends. .. Santita Jackson was godmother to young Malia Obama.

- - - Mr. Obama would regularly attend weekly meetings of Mr. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization.
[Jesse Jr.] gave Mr. Obama a much-needed endorsement in the Democratic primary.

- - - If Mr. Jackson had decided to run for the United States Senate in 2004, Mr. Obama most likely would not be president.
That year and again in 2008, Mr. Obama, seeking to bolster his credibility with African-Americans, enlisted the younger
Mr. Jackson for crucial help."

[Jackson resigned from Congress in November, 2012, under suspicion of substance abuse but citing a mood disorder.]

Posted by: Adamakis | Jul 3, 2013 9:39:04 AM

Adamakis,

You're hateful obsession with Obama reveals more about you than Obama.

Posted by: JohnK | Jul 5, 2013 12:59:10 PM

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