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March 6, 2007

More Libby sentencing speculation

The speculations about sentencing in the Libby case are already quite interesting: US News has this brief piece headlined "Libby Looking at 15 Months to Three Years, Experts Predict"; Wonkette has this more fun piece entitled "EXCLUSIVE LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO: What Will Happen to Scooter?"  Here is the tail end of the Wonkette coverage:

[A]ssuming that Scooter doesn't have more than one previous conviction for something like DUI, he's got a guideline Offense Level of 17 or 20 points, with no other enhancements bringing it up or credits bringing it down.  That's 24-30 months or 33-41 months.  Keep in mind that the Judge can use his discretion to go outside the guidelines in any one of 3 ways: give Scooter 2 points off for accepting responsibility (which is unlikely, 'cause it'd require that either effectively confess guilt, ending any appeal hopes, or that the Judge find that the guy has accepted responsibility when he clearly hasn't -- but hey, Martha Stewart’s judge did exactly that); find that his age or health entitles him to some downward departure; or just scrap a bunch of time for shits and giggles.

My guess is 24 months -- the low end of the range for a 17 point offense level. There's also a possibility that the US Attorney could ask for a reduction under Rule 5K or Rule 35 for some sort of substantial assistance, but I wouldn’t hold my breath that Scooter's now going to help, and I wouldn't imagine that Fitzgerald is going to do anything unless Scooter can give up the secret information tying W to Saddaam in a gay sex-for-drugs scheme that took place in Rumsfeld's den.

On related fronts, here at CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin is exploring "can Scooter Libby extend his time outside of prison long enough to get to that lame duck period when he might actually get a pardon?"

Related Libby sentencing posts:

March 6, 2007 at 05:49 PM | Permalink


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While Toobin can be excused, given his audience, Libby would actually need a commutation of sentence, it would seem.

One thing the Libby case presents a good teaching point for is that the ability of a judge to consider uncharged conduct or crimes (or for that matter acquitted crimes) in sentencing is one of the main drivers of uncertainty in the Sentencing Guidelines. Without uncharged conduct, the maximum to minimum sentence ratio is about two and a half. With uncharged conduct, the maxmimum to minimum sentence ratio is about about ten.

Libby's case is also a good illustration of the usual situation in which criminal history scores are often not a matter of serious dispute. This is particularly true of offenders with relatively thin criminal histories.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Mar 6, 2007 6:03:18 PM

Toobin seems to assume Libby will win his motion for bail pending appeal. But while I buy he isn't a risk to flee, what are his legitimate appellate issues, that if decided in his favor, would reverse his convictions?

Posted by: Elson | Mar 6, 2007 6:54:25 PM

Private citizen.

He will do his time and it will not be long or harsh. Upon release he will disappear into obscurity. Last time I heard ; Cheney doesn't know who Scooter is. His appeal ? No one else knows him either and thus no one else would pay. It's unlikley Libby will give up more information. Obscurity is probably not that bad when the alternative is considered. And I don't mean fame or fortune. Maybe I'm wrong and Libby will be forth coming with a 'tell all' book.

Posted by: Nancy | May 21, 2007 2:24:59 AM

While Toobin can be excused, given his audience, Libby would actually need a commutation of sentence, it would seem.

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