Feds Back Lengthy Prison Term for McDonnell

Image: Verdict Reached In Corruption Trial Of Former Virginia Governor McDonnell And His WifeBy Peter Galuszka

Spotlighting once again just what a parallel universe Virginians live in, federal probation officers have recommended an unusually lengthy sentence for Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican who was the first present or former governor  ever to be convicted of public corruption in the Old Dominion.

The recommended sentence is a minimum of 10 years and one month with the maximum being 12 years and seven months. If U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer follows the recommendations, which statistics show is likely during sentencing Jan. 6, McDonnell could technically be in jail until he is past 70 years old.

The irony, according to The Washington Post, is that McDonnell could have gotten a maximum sentence of three years and a minimum of probation had he accepted a plea deal a year ago. He could have pleaded guilty to lying on a bank application. His co-defendant, wife Maureen who was also convicted of corruption, would never have been charged had the deal gone through.

The federal process for recommending sentences is regarded as a thorough and rigorous process. It shows just how serious the convictions against McDonnell are.

This reality is in marked contrast to the series of opinions and wishful thinking one reads in the blogosphere (and here as well) that McDonnell is an innocent who was framed. Among the ideas are that the conviction is tainted because in one instance star prosecution witness Jonnie R. Williams gave conflicting information during his four days of testimony.

A more bizarre idea is that Spencer, a Reagan appointee, is conflicted because McDonnell and other Republican legislators voted down his wife’s nomination for a state supreme court judgeship back in the 1990s.

I gather they can all float away in their sea of delusions. We had to endure their insistence that there was no case against the McDonnells because everybody does it and this is Virginia. Well, the jury didn’t buy it and didn’t take all that long to come back with ringing guilty verdicts. Now federal probation officers are reminding us once again about what we’re really dealing with.

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5 responses to “Feds Back Lengthy Prison Term for McDonnell

  1. comments should be interesting…

  2. I’m usually not this glib, but who honestly cares? Severity of punishment is not a deterrent to crime, so it’s unlikely this will change behaviors. Unless I’ve missed something there doesn’t seem to be a clamoring for change to Virginia laws. Bob McDonnell was garbage as a governor in ways that actually materially affected the well being of the Commonwealth. But I’m generally not big into punitive modes of justice, so take this for what it’s worth.

    “Among the ideas are that the conviction is tainted because in one instance star prosecution witness Jonnie R. Williams gave conflicting information during his four days of testimony.”

    If conflicting information is a good enough standard to say someone is lying about a rape it’s good enough here, too.

    “A more bizarre idea is that Spencer, a Reagan appointee, is conflicted because McDonnell and other Republican legislators down his wife’s nomination for a state supreme court judgeship back in the 1990s.”

    Why is this bizarre? Are judges somehow immune from the same petty impulses that exist in the hearts of other men?

    “I gather they can all float away in their sea of delusions.”

    Why are they delusional? Because they disagree with a legal finding? What is decided in a courtroom is not necessarily a reflection of reality.

    • re: who honestly cares?

      excellent question!

      apparently the same folks who were out to tar and feather him over the “biggest tax increase in the history of the Commonwealth” are apparently concerned that folks on the “other side” have shot one of their own in the butt… and all is now forgiven since the man has clearly been savaged by a judge who may have felt he was racially wronged by McDonnell in a previous political life.

      All the rest of what Fall Line says is IMHO pretty much dead on including the part about the Judge potentially harboring human foibles..

      so how ironic would it be for a biased judge to burn someone who demonstrated such low regard for the highest office in Virginia?

      Bring out the violins…! Cue the Jimmy Swaggart video and lets have a good old fashioned Come to Jesus whine fest.

      http://youtu.be/yWkVa-_sd24

  3. “..The federal process for recommending sentences is regarded as a thorough and rigorous process. It shows just how serious the convictions against McDonnell are.”

    I’m not convinced that’s a fruitful way to look at it. Prosecutors want people to accept plea bargains, so they routinely offer plea bargains which are substantially less than they will ask for if they get convictions. Their audience is the next guy who is up on charges like this and has an incentive to knuckle under and take the deal, because he can see what happened to McDonnell. Particularly with a case which had as many uncertainties as this one, prosecutors DON’T want to roll the dice on a trial. And a trial is a lot of work for them. So they are trying to punish him for making them sweat.

    I’m not a fan of the plea bargain system, but that’s one of the aspects of how it works.

    • doesn’t seem to work so well for young backs dealing penny ante street drugs… or selling untaxed cigarettes in New York.

      You must be talking about the “other” justice system for just those who lack scruples.. and such, eh?

      no sympathy what-so-ever – Between the imperious “Virginia Way” and our just bottom-of-the-barrel ethics laws – we have elected and legislators running around – that in other states would be LUCKY to be OFFERED a plea.

      no sympathy here for a man and his wife that had such a low opinion of the office of the Governor that they’d treat it as a cash register for their own needs.

      should I tell you how I REALLY feel? 😉

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