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April 11, 2011

Monica Conyers makes impossible(?) sentence modification request from prison

This local piece coming from Detroit, headlined " Monica Conyers asks to serve remainder of her sentence at home," provides an interesting example of a high-profile federal prisoner making what seems to be an impossible sentencing request.  Here are the details:

Former City Council President Monica Conyers wants out of "Camp Cupcake." The imprisoned wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, has asked a federal judge to modify her 37-month prison sentence for bribery and let her serve time at home, according to a three-page handwritten letter filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

In arguing for reconsideration, Conyers, 46, said a federal judge failed to consider her age, education, work skills, employment record, family ties and "likihood (sic)" she would commit another crime.  Plus, her son's babysitter is returning to school soon, Conyers wrote in the letter to U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn.

Her bid is a long shot considering Conyers has filed an appeal, which is pending before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University and former federal prosecutor. "You can ask," Henning said. "Barring extraordinary circumstances, I doubt he would reconsider."

The request comes seven months after Conyers reported to a federal women's prison camp in Alderson, W.Va. Dubbed "Camp Cupcake," the prison camp offers plenty of perks, including washers, dryers, microwave ovens, hair dryers, curling irons and cosmetology areas where inmate-to-inmate pedicures and manicures are allowed.

In a letter, Conyers said the court could, as an alternative, sentence her to home confinement, community confinement or intermittent confinement to "correct the blatent (sic) sentencing disparities." Conyers is serving the sentence after pleading guilty to accepting at least $6,000 for her deciding vote in the 2007 Synagro Technologies Inc. sludge contract.

After her sentence, Conyers tried to withdraw her guilty plea and appealed. She complained that she pleaded guilty because she was unable to resist pressure from her lawyer, the government and the news media, according to an appeal brief....

In a letter to The Detroit News this year, Conyers complained that Camp Cupcake doesn't live up to its cushy nickname, provides no second servings of food to inmates and has few education opportunities.

Those interested in seeing Monica Conyers' letter to the judge can check it out at this link.  And, as the title to my post is meant to suggest, I am pretty sure Judge Avern Cohn lacks any legal authority to give Conyers' the relief she seeks even if he were moved by her request.

April 11, 2011 at 07:05 PM | Permalink


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"I am pretty sure Judge Avern Cohn lacks any legal authority to give Conyers' the relief she seeks even if he were moved by her request."

Correct. The ancient rule is that a party cannot contest the same issue in two courts at the same time. She has an ongoing appeal. The filing of the notice of appeal divested the district court of jurisdiction over all matters fairly bound up in the appeal.

And this lady's husband is the Ranking Member on the JUDICIARY COMMITTEE? Far out!

"...and 'likihood (sic)' she would commit another crime."

A Freudian slip for the ages.

The sense of grievance and entitlement common to so many defendants shines through with this one like a laser. She thought that stealing was a right and still thinks so.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 11, 2011 8:12:15 PM

Her youngest son is away at boarding school and the oldest son is twenty years old so who needs a babysitter. The one in boardingschool or the twenty year old?

Posted by: darlene | Apr 12, 2011 7:31:26 PM

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