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January 6, 2015

Former Virginia Gov McDonnell gets (way-below-guideline) sentence of two years in prison

As reported here by the Washington Post, a "federal judge sentenced former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell to two years in prison Tuesday — a term far lower than what prosecutors had sought and one that means the popular politician will be free before his 63rd birthday." Here is more:

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer said he was moved by the outpouring of support for McDonnell, though he could not ignore the jury’s verdict. “A price must be paid,” Spencer said. “Unlike Pontius Pilate, I can’t wash my hands of it all.  A meaningful sentence must be imposed.”

The penalty is a win for defense attorneys, who had asked that the former governor be sentenced to mere community service even as prosecutors initially advocated for a prison term stretching longer than a decade.  The U.S. probation office had determined that federal sentencing guidelines called for a term of incarceration between 10 years and a month and 12 years and seven months.

Spencer ordered the former governor to report to prison on Feb. 9. Though McDonnell (R) will certainly appeal his conviction, the sentence brings to a close a stunning narrative of politics, greed and family drama that reached a climax in September when McDonnell, 60, and his wife, Maureen, were convicted of public corruption. A jury found unanimously that the couple used the governor’s office to help a wealthy dietary supplement company executive advance his business interests, and in exchange, the businessman gave the McDonnells $177,000 in loans, gifts and luxury goods.

January 6, 2015 at 03:32 PM | Permalink


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So the guideline sentence was 121-151 months and he got 24 months and he will appeal
This. What for, a much longer sentence, does he have brain damage.

He got 20% of what joe avg would get and he will appeal.

Horses ass, is my first thought. Enough said.

Posted by: 187Midwest Guy | Jan 6, 2015 9:55:54 PM

...Illustrating yet again the guidelines are too punitive and "trial penalties" are too high.

No other way to see a prison term for such a penny-ante infraction...judging by what the wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street -- the U.S. Congress -- gets way with every day.

So for annoying the government by putting it to the trouble of a trial, McDonnell will be caged for two years. The government had asked for 10 years and will feel cheated it only got two.

I say "only two" because prison terms of two years or less are considered wrist slaps by folks who lack imagination and/or hate their own lives. To them the deprivation, routine humiliation and getting shoved around and ordered about by authoritarian dimwits for JUST two years hardly counts as punishment at all. Clearly such folks were well represented on the panels that crafted the great and powerful justice-dispenser abacus...the guidelines.

McDonnell struck me as smug, sanctimonious, right-wing jerk, but I hate to see such things happen even to folks like him.

Posted by: John K | Jan 7, 2015 11:05:07 AM

I strongly suspect McDonald's appellate counsel will appeal only the jury conviction, not the way-below-Guidelines sentence. I wonder whether the government will cross appeal the sentence on substantive reasonableness grounds (i.e., for being too short).

Posted by: Todd | Jan 7, 2015 1:22:21 PM

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