* The jurors in Rod Blagojevich’s trial saw through the hokum…
Jury forewoman Connie Wilson, 56, of Naperville, said she thought she recognized what Blagojevich was up to when he started picking and choosing details from his personal history. The details appeared to mirror personal information that came out when the judge questioned the jury pool before testimony began, she said.
“I said, ‘Do you remember what he talked about . . . [while testifying about his home] library?’ ” Wilson said she told other jurors during their deliberations. “He pointed to something in the library that pertained to almost everybody on the jury.”
She said jurors started piecing it together.
Over his seven days of testimony, Blagojevich mentioned books, targeting a librarian on the jury; pointed out an interest in music, directing the comment toward Wilson, the former choral director at Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Naperville; and discussed the importance of education, to connect with a teacher, Wilson said. “He even brought out at one point something about Boston, and of course our gentleman was a huge Boston fan,” she said with a laugh, remembering the male juror’s many Boston-themed T-shirts.
* Speaking of hope, a commenter pointed out this recent New York Times story about how Bernie Madoff’s judge decided to go with the ultimate max in his sentencing order…
Judge Chin said he quickly rejected the idea of a 12-year sentence for Mr. Madoff, but pondered whether 20 to 25 years might be acceptable. He ultimately concluded that even that “would have been just way too low.”
“In the end, I just thought he didn’t deserve it,” he said. “The benefits of giving him hope were far outweighed by all of the other considerations.”
Judge Chin would impose a term of 150 years on Mr. Madoff, perhaps the most stunning and widely discussed sentencing in the history of American white-collar crime. In doing so, he seemed to find a way to translate society’s rage into a number.
And New York legal analyst Jami Floyd makes a prediction…
You will recall that many of the experts who are now predicting a ten-year sentence for Blagojevich also predicted a ten-year sentence for Bernard Madoff. Madoff was older (71). He was also convicted in federal court and the sentencing guidelines in that case suggested a 13-year term. Instead, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years and will never see the light of day. I predict a slightly kinder, gentler sentence for Blagojevich; something in the order of 20-25 years.
* More legal analysis. This time, about the appeal…
Veteran appeals lawyer Joel Bertocchi said that in his experience, broad-based claims of unfairness don’t usually work.
“He needs to show specifically how (the recordings) would have helped and how the defense was seriously injured by the inability to play them,” he said. […]
Another obstacle to a successful appeal could be Blagojevich’s own testimony, Bertocchi said. Many of the judges on the appeals court were once trial judges themselves, he said, and they know that once a defendant testifies, that’s more or less the ballgame.
The jury either believes you or, as in Blagojevich’s case, it doesn’t.
…Adding… Oops. I forgot to post this important piece of the puzzle…
Where will Rod Blagojevich serve his time?
It may depend on how much time he has to serve.
It’s up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to place a prisoner, but experts say that the length of Blagojevich’s sentence could be a key factor in deciding whether the former governor is in a place with guards and bars or in a place with khakis and cards.
Defendants who are sentenced to more than 10 years in prison typically don’t get a spot in the more-desired prison camps, said defense attorney Jeffrey Steinback, who is regarded as an expert in federal sentencing and who has testified before the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
…Adding More… I missed this one…
Rod Blagojevich won’t likely ever set foot in a courtroom again as a practicing attorney thanks to the sweeping corruption convictions a federal jury handed down.
The top lawyer for the Illinois Supreme Court’s Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, the legal panel that polices lawyer misconduct, said it is a virtual certainty Blagojevich will be disbarred as a result of his convictions.
Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist were both upset by the decision. “It is a miscarriage of justice. They can’t prove it,” said Scarborough. Geist lamented, “I grew up in a country where you only had to stand trial once for a crime. Didn’t they already go through this once? Nothing stuck.”
Scarborough laid his law degree on the table: “Here’s the deal. I don’t want to talk about it a lot, but I am a lawyer. And I can tell you, I didn’t have to go to law school to learn about a little concept called double jeopardy…The entire weight of the government leaning down on him. The jury goes, “no, we see nothing wrong with this man except perhaps his hair cut.” And then he wins and then they throw the entire weight of the federal government on him again twice. I’m sorry. That’s just not the America I grew up in. “
What Scarborough forgets (or never learned) is that the Blagojevich case is not subject to double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy is designed to protect the acquitted from multiple and repeated prosecutions, and only applies to cases in which a verdict has been reached. Because 23 of the counts against Blagojevich were declared mistrials, no judgment had been reached. According to Chicago defense attorney Ava George Stewart, “if the jury had decided that Blagojevich was not guilty, then the government could not retry him, as they have already indicated they intend to do. In this case, Double Jeopardy is inapplicable.”
* National pundits were wrong again. No surprise, since most don’t bother to do even basic fact-checking and just repeat pre-approved talking points…
Last fall, when Rahm Emanuel left his post as White House chief of staff, some political analysts warned that his dealings with Blagojevich could doom his chances to be elected mayor of Chicago.
But Emanuel easily won. And while he testified briefly at Blagojevich’s second trial, he was never accused of any wrongdoing. In fact, on the charge directly involving Emanuel — that Blagojevich tried to shake down Emanuel for a fundraiser — jurors were unable to reach a verdict.
What the clueless pundits deliberately failed to realize was that Blagojevich had predicted that Emanuel could clear him. He was actually right on one point. The juror failed to convict the former governor on charges that he had attempted to extort a campaign fundraiser from Emanuel’s brother in exchange for releasing grant money to a school in Emanuel’s congressional district back in 2006. Emanuel testified that he was never told of any proposed deal.
* And Jon Stewart was pretty darned funny last night…
* Lawmakers move to cut off Blagojevich’s pension
* Airline Ad Plays Off Blagojevich Conviction in Promoting ‘F-ing Golden’ Low Fares
* Only one Blagojevich juror from Chicago
* Naperville woman was reluctant to be Blagojevich jury foreman: “Some of the women actually said, ‘I’m sure we’re going to be characterized as the typical woman who talks ad nauseam,’ and you know, it really wasn’t that way,” she said. “Everybody was very much trying to find ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ and that’s what everything’s based on, and we would go back to that premise very often.”
* Tinley Park juror: Blago ‘really cheated the people of Illinois’: “He really cheated the people of Illinois, or tried to. He took an oath to do what was best for the people of Illinois and he didn’t do it. So we’ll have another governor in jail,” she said.
* Lone ‘gentleman’ juror doesn’t feel sorry for Rod Blagojevich
* Jurors at Blagojevich retrial say they used communication techniques, tried to stay in harmony: Wilson put her choir-directing skills, perfected at Naperville’s Holy Spirit church, to use in trying to track how the group was interacting and whether some jurors were out of sync. “With a choir, you’re looking for trouble spots in the music and going back,” she said. “I was listening to all the jurors, understanding where they were, then adjusting, go back.”
* Aurora juror finds relief as Blagojevich trial ends: Bennett said she was warned that Monday’s press conference after the verdict was handed down would not be the end of the media’s interest in her and other members of the jury. While some jurors were hesitant to talk to the press, Bennett said she felt it was part of her duty. She gladly sat down with a host of reporters on Tuesday to answer questions and give insight into what went on behind closed doors over the last couple months.
* Juror: ‘Most interesting thing I’ve ever done … And the most boring’:
* Juror from first trial praises Blago jury
* CityRoom video: Inside the media pit at the Blagojevich verdict