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Question of the day

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016

* Federal prosecutors had asked for up to 6 months in prison for former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Today, Judge Durkin sentenced Hastert to 15 months, plus a $250,000 fine.

* The Question: Was this a just sentence? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


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- Posted by Rich Miller        

91 Comments
  1. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    Judge Durkin explained it well, so folks should just go back and read the live blog. But Hastert committed crimes to cover up even worse crimes. The motive matters, and it is a just sentence, though in reality he should have to be in prison for much longer.

    Mostly unrelated, but the crazy overlap of GOP politics here is insane. Hastert was IL House Minority Leader Tom Cross’s mentor. Hastert molested Cross’s brother. Cross stepping down to run for Treasurer brought in Minority Leader Durkin, who’s brother was the judge in Hastert’s case. Crazy.


  2. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    I practice criminal defense law in federal court. Based on facts and the evidence this was a fair sentence. 18 USC 3553a is the touchstone for federal sentences particularly “(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.”


  3. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    The only real justice will occur if/when Hastert thinks about the victims and their families instead of himself, owns up to what he did, and offers sincere apologies. Who knows if he’s capable of this type of self-reflection?


  4. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    No.

    Is Hastert facing some justice now? Yes. But his victims have endured decades of humiliation and shame while Hastert got everything that comes with (power, privilege, and wealth) being one of the most prominent politicians in America. Hastert and his family are still living well off the riches he was able to accumulate while he went unpunished.


  5. - LizPhairTax - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    I voted no. On the way in I would’ve said 15 months was too harsh for the structuring. On the way out, 15 months seems light. Let’s assume he’s got 4 years to live. 30/48 of his remaining months in prison seems fair to me.


  6. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    If he had been tried for a different crime, then it would have been woefully inadequate. But given the charges he faced, more than appropriate.


  7. - Ghost - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    its to harsh, we dont sentence people for motive, we use motive to establish guilt. you sentence for the crime somone has been convixted of, if we sentence you for a a crime that you have not been charged with, nor had due process in etc the whole system fails to protect our rights. If you get a speeding ticket on the way to molest someone, but you are never tried or
    convicted of the molestation, do wenput you in jail anyway to sentence you for an unproven crime?

    this was a small scale banking crime with no victims. no retirees or people were ripped off. the sentence is way way out of proportion to the crime. Due process requires a trial on any other crimes before you can be punished.


  8. - Grandpa - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    I am no criminal defense lawyer, but taking all of his offences into account I say he got his hand slapped. Seems to happen frequently among the high and mighty. The wheelchair was a little much as well.


  9. - Union Man - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Fair? Let the kid’s sister of the boy who killed himself answer that. Really, white power broker… Imagine if it had been Jesse Jackson thus accused. No doubt few would have felt sorry for him. Our cultural bias rules.


  10. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    it was double plus what the prosecution asked for. and the explanation by the judge details why he gave more. abuse + trying to set up the victim as a blackmailer/revictimizing + asking the brother of a victim to write a support letter + he knows the laws on bank and taking money out + Speaker of the house (unspoken, um all those cases of sexual issues he presided over while Speaker) = um, USA office I’m giving more.

    frankly, as I read the Scribble feed my face was so hot that I can understand why the public might want to throw things at Hastert as he passes by. he is a calculating monster.


  11. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    As far as I can tell, the only mitigating factor was Hastert’s age. Every other consideration called for more time.

    – MrJM


  12. - Formerpol - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    Fair. His crime was currency structuring. That’s what the Guidelines dealt with. Statute of limitations ran long ago on the sex charges.


  13. - Christopher - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    Hastert lied to the FBI, showed little remorse for his actions, should have known better about all of this. 15 months seems negligible (especially if it eventually gets reduced for “good behavior”), because the victims have suffered all these many years.


  14. - Because I said so.... - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:12 pm:

    Under the circumstances and latitude the judge had, yes. Throw the book at him.


  15. - illlinifan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:13 pm:

    I said no based on the question. It technically was the correct sentence for the crime he had committed and what was in criminal law. Was it “just” no, because his real crime was the molestation, no. He should serve time for that but can’t because of the statute of limitations. He got the right sentence, but not the “just” sentence.


  16. - One to the Dome - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    Should have gotten longer


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    No. Based on all off the evidence and his initial attempts to victimize a victim for a second time he should have received them maximum possible penalty. But then again for those of us who believe we can rest knowing he will likely face a much stiffer judgement in the future.


  18. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:17 pm:

    Illinifan - you hit the nail on the head. Considering the charges and the sentencing guidelines, it is a correct sentence but you are correct in saying it is far from just.


  19. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:17 pm:

    My sons and grandkids wrestled; NO, but those little incidents weren’t what he was tried for. So… maybe…still… NO!


  20. - Groucho - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    The penalty was to severe for the crime he was convicted of.

    If we were sentencing him to the alleged sex crimes,which we were not, then I would put him away as long as possible.


  21. - SAP - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    I voted no. I think 15 month was too long of a sentence for the currency structuring, but way too short of a sentence for the conduct that directly led to the currency structuring. I tend to be a process guy who insists on technical support for legal decisions, but Hastert’s abuse (okay alleged abuse) was so bad that Hastert could spend the rest of his life in jail and it wouldn’t be long enough for me.


  22. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    For the obstruction and lying to FBI charges, the sentence was fair. I doubt anybody is too upset about those crimes.

    On the other hand, sexual molestation is a crime in which there can never be any true justice. What makes this case especially sickening is that no one would have believed the boys over Hastert.

    The judge was right. What a sad, tragic day for the United States.


  23. - Gooner - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    15 months for a first time offender on a financial crime seems heavy but when you factor in the lying to the FBI it makes sense.

    Today is a good time to think about the Cross family. Nice to see some justice, even far too late.


  24. - Joe Cannon - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:20 pm:

    Judge did a great job reflecting our social outrage at this attempted coverup. Hastert’s career was built on his image as a coach,teacher,mentor. Without that, he’d have been less than nothing. He owes all of his accomplishments to the silence of his victims. I found the statement of Jolene especially impactful, when she approached him in 1995 she was a mere “annoyance”. I also read an internet reference to one of his Illinois house colleagues reflecting his “dark side” was known to some back then. Shame on anyone and everyone for protecting this man. No deeds are great enough to compensate for the damage done to these young (and now middle-aged) men. And as far as I’m concerned, his “blessed” life since 1995 is more than enough “compensation” for whatever tragedy and deprivation he endures from now til death.


  25. - illini - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:21 pm:

    I followed the entire proceedings on scribblelive. Have never done that before. When I heard that there were only two occasions where the Judge imposed more than the Federal guidelines I felt that he took the circumstances to be as serious as they actually were.

    There was a lot to digest in the Judges remarks and I commend him for both his demeanor and his very appropriate and carefully chosen choice of words.

    Many troubling aspects of this whole scenario, but the “mistreated” comment was the worst.

    A “just sentence” under the circumstances probably yes, but in the real world this would be considered inadequate.


  26. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    I agree with Paddy - the judge can’t twist the law by turning the lesser charge into the child molestation charge. He did what he could. Convicted rapists only serve on average 2-3 years in prison - hopefully there’s no significant early release here. I also hope people refrain from calls for fellow prisoners to mete out justice here? Prison violence (and prison rape) is a woefully unaddressed problem in America and such remarks (honestly felt or joking) contribute to that.


  27. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    A little like Bill Scott: Charged with tax evasion, convicted and sentenced for having a girl friend


  28. - A Modest Proposal - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    Voted Yes

    Judge Durkin did a good job. He correctly sentenced the Hastert. I wish he could have given him more.

    The fact that Hastert has no recollection of of sexually assaulting one of is victims makes me think that there are many many more. And its a gut wrenching thought.

    Another person said that we really need to look at our statute of limitations on child molestation. I agree.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    Voted “No”

    Here’s why…

    Judge Durkin made clear two really goid points. First had this gone to state court, eluding to the molestion and possible prosecution, 15 months would not match the harm.

    Second, by the purposeful coverup, Hastert’s rising in politics would not have happened, and Hastert’s own increasing power enabled the silence continued.

    Finally, in this case specific, the purposeful framing of a victim to save himself, using what victims fear most, the “word agaist the accuser”, that in itself warranted a minimum of what Judge Durkin gave. To further humiliate a victim in hopes of saving himself, Hastert got off easier, but within parameters.

    I understand the sentence, but I’m also struck also by the sickening brazen ask of J. Dennis Hastert to Tom Cross. That added to my above, the 15 months is far less than should be given, and my hope is that the victims know this sentence is a reflection of the Justice System recognizing the pain and anguish they felt was weighed in the sentencing.

    Voted “No”, knowing full well why my rationale is more heart and far less that wrapped in a sentence guideline.


  30. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:25 pm:

    I believe the sentance was fair, but not just.

    I think the statute of limitations regarding sex crimes against minor children should be eliminated. That’s the only justice I could see resulting from this case.


  31. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    From a legal perspective, the sentence was just.

    From a moral perspective, it was not.


  32. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    Voted no
    Taxpayers gain payin’ to house the mope


  33. - Gooner - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    A Modest Proposal wrote: “The fact that Hastert has no recollection of of sexually assaulting one of is victims makes me think that there are many many more. And its a gut wrenching thought.”

    That’s an interesting perspective. I thought maybe it was age, but if he was doing it as a matter of routine that would make sense too.

    It is amazing that it was kept quiet so long.


  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    After a lot of difficulty, I vote “no.” Solidly “no.”

    I can’t argue with Judge Durkin’s reasoning. I think his handling of this case has been exemplary from start to finish, and his summation was masterful.

    And I understand the crimes for which Hastert was convicted do not include child abuse.

    But this case was all about child abuse. The federales wouldn’t have pursued it if it wasn’t about child abuse.

    We’ve seen this movie too many times. Powerful men in our most revered institutions getting away with the most unspeakable crimes for decades. And rarely, do they go to prison at all.

    For all the victims still out there who can’t bring themselves to come forward, for reasons I won’t pretend to fathom, I think the max was in order.

    You’ll be listened to, and those who did you harm will get justice.


  35. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:35 pm:

    I take some solace in Romans 12:19: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but [a]leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.


  36. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===A little like Bill Scott===

    Careful there Steve. It almost sounds as if you think what Hastert did to those boys amounts to merely cheating on his wife.

    Former Speaker Dennis Hastert is NOT a victim of an aggressive prosecutor nor a judge with a grudge. He pled guilty to a crime and the reason he committed the crime was to cover up the abuse of boys when he was a figure of authority.

    Please don’t minimize Hastert’s actions or compare them to an adulterer.


  37. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    Said no, the sentence was way too light. Nothing he did for our country can atone for what he did.


  38. - Crispy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Yes–given current law, that it was for structuring, and that it was impossible to try him for his much worse crimes against the boys who were entrusted to his care. The judge’s sentence far exceeded the Feds’ recommendations, which is significant.

    That said, true “justice” is probably impossible to achieve in this life. No sentence can cause a conscience to grow in someone who lacks one, and I doubt he’ll ever truly feel remorse for his actions, barring divine intervention.

    But, he’s suffered public shame and humiliation, and he’s been stripped of what he evidently values most: power, money, and the regard of his peers. To the extent he’s capable of suffering for his crimes, he is suffering.


  39. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Illini +1


  40. - Mason born - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    I voted no. Hastert should spend the rest of his life in jail for the molestation and a day. We do need to rethink statute of limitations on molestation.

    However I think the structuring is a crock for anyone.
    The only benefit is in this case a p.o.s. was taken off street.


  41. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    It’s the right sentence. Is it just? How could it be given the damage? Is it fair? Fairness departed long ago.

    He’s destroyed many lives. Including his own. Some can find some healing and redemption. He can’t. Ever. That part of the sentence is forever and beyond and tarnishes every person connected with him.

    Is it just? What could possibly be just?


  42. - A guy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    12:39 me. Tech problems today


  43. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    Voted no. Should’ve gotten the full five years. Should have been charged with lying to the FBI, should have possibly been charged with conspiracy. Guy doesn’t deserve to have any more freedom.


  44. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    No. He was charged with structuring no sex abuse
    Also judge did him favor. Sentence over year he gets good time day for a day out in 7 and 2/2 months. If sentenced to 365 days would server everyone of them. That is why Fast Eddie was originally sentences to a year and day so he would get good time. AND judge can say was tougher than Feds asked


  45. - siriusly - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:47 pm:

    Can someone who knows the law please explain the rationale behind a statute of limitations on prosecuting these types of crimes?

    I’m not being sarcastic (for once) I truly don’t understand the basis for an expiration date on certain types of prosecutions.


  46. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    1. The prosecutors recommended a ceiling of six months in custody, then handled the hearing as if they were trying to justify six decades in prison. It was sensationalism.
    2. Judges have wide sentencing discretion. Sentencing sometimes is the hardest thing a judge does.
    3. On one hand, Hastert got away with much. On the other hand, he would have taken his guilt to the grave if he’d exercised his right to remain silent. He made the government’s case. Stupid, arrogant, yes you can say that. But to deny him sentencing credit for his cooperation reinforces the notion that people shouldn’t talk to authorities, lest they get hurt in court.
    4. The only crime for which Durkin could sentence him was the structuring. Not the sex.
    5. Do not overlook the mitigation that his name has been irretrievably ruined.
    6. Then, too, he is 74 and in poor health.
    7. Sex offender probation is no walk in the park.
    8. He may well have to register as a sex offender.
    So yeah, the guy should rot in Hades. But it’s a waste of scarce taxpayer resources to incarcerate him.


  47. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    No. The damage done by the underlying actions of the crime are forever. Should have maxed him out.


  48. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    I think it was. the key for me, and it appears for Judge Durkin as well, was that Hastert tried to get out of his crime by accusing Victim 1 of committing extortion.


  49. - the Cardinal - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    For the crime Yes. He was in violation of the banking laws that ironically he helped craft/pass.
    The other stuff will sort itself out in the civil proceedings. The whole thing is very sad for all involved. Sympathy for the victims and families.


  50. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:53 pm:

    Do defense attorneys keep spare wheelchairs in their offices, for use with elderly clients at Federal sentencing hearings? Oxygen tanks too?

    Just sayin.

    Yes Judge did what he should, especially after prosecution asked for only 6 months.


  51. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    Statutes of Limitations exist as a matter of fairness for those accused of crimes allegedly occurring so long ago they are impossible to defend, resulting in the danger of wrongful conviction. You know your whereabouts on this day x number of years ago?


  52. - Belle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    No
    Hastert dug his own hole multiple times, not just creating 4 known victims.
    He cannot even admit the sexual crimes he committed.
    He also attempted to get the FBI to charge Victim A with extortion. He had no morals when it came to his own behavior.
    He led a double life to cover-up his lack of the most basic morals. We will never know how many victims were touched by this horror.
    The Judge did a terrific job laying all of this out and I realize he gave more time than is the norm. But, I am convinced he could have applied the maximum instead of above the norm.


  53. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    The lesson here is that if you have enough money, you’ll get away with your crimes, enjoy your best years, and (if you’re feeling lucky) avoid the statute of limitations. Once you’re finally caught by our fair and impartial criminal justice system you’ll be given what amounts to pity because you are old and “because it isn’t supposed to be a death sentence.

    True American justice was served today.


  54. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    I misunderstood the sentencing guidelines on this crime but I am gobsmacked that the US Attorney would have only suggested six months on this case as part of a plea deal given the severity of the crimes that were covered up with the actual federal offense charged. They had the evidence to convict.


  55. - Gooner - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Siriusly,

    I spent a very short period of my career defending Catholic priests.

    The basis for an SoL is because after a certain length of time, it becomes unfair to ask a person to raise a defense.

    Example: “On January 8, 1965, Victim A was on the alter when Priest B abused him.”

    If the charge is brought in 1967, the priest may have travel records showing that it was impossible — for instance he was in Rome at the time.

    However, if the allegation is made in 2007, it really comes down to the testimony of one against another.

    The SoL at times protects offenders like Hastert, but unfortunately it is also necessary for a fair judicial process.

    For what it is worth, after working on those cases for about two years, it is in the category of cases I refuse to handle.


  56. - Indochine - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:58 pm:

    So many thought the fix was in when Durkin got the case, but the sentence and outrage he expressed in admonishing and shaming Hastert proved that was not the case. I’m not sure Hastert will have any punishment stronger than Durkin calling him a “serial child molester” and liar for 45 solid minutes. It was brutal.

    It would seem to me that the statute of limitations laws should be reviewed.


  57. - titan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:59 pm:

    I think he may have gotten sentenced more for the non-charged/convicted crimes.


  58. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    By the way, I think the maximum sentence was five years.
    Of 1.25 years to which he was sentenced, he’ll do 85%, or about a year.


  59. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    1.) Sure
    2.) He wrote the law that defined what he was doing as illegal.
    3.) After decades as a public servant he should probably be held to a higher standard.
    4.) The extent of the stuff he got away with is ridiculous and should be considered in the sentence.
    5.) He should be serving decades, but statutes of limitations are statutes of limitations.
    6.) Discovery and depositions for the civil trials should be fun.


  60. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    For the crime convicted, yes.

    How long are we going to allow victims who stay silent for financial reasons just walk. Time and time again we see accusers of famous people come forward only after someone else gives them up or their financial gain is no longer viable.

    I can’t understand what it victims of sexual assault go through. But if you fail to report it because of financial gain, the victims after you, are on you.


  61. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:05 pm:

    anyone know how the sentence will actually work in practice? what if the judge had given a 364 day sentence?


  62. - Ratso Rizzo - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:08 pm:

    Nobody ever seems to bring this up, but once a child predator ALWAYS a child predator. Do you really believe he stopped sexually assaulting kids when he began his political career??? I am positive there are many more victims. He should’ve received the full five year sentence.


  63. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:09 pm:

    I voted no, focusing on the wording of the question.

    Some people have said it’s fair, appropriate and whatever. Fine, for the crime that he was being sentenced for, that is all true, and Judge Durkin delivered a *correct* sentence.

    But, was this a *just* sentence for the despicable things that Hastert did? Absolutely not. He’s a sex offender, and it is truly a shame that the statute of limitations prevented him from getting a sentence worthy of a sex offender.

    +1 on 47th’s comments to schnorf

    -1 on anyone who voted yes - there is no amount of proper justice for child sex abuse.


  64. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    Should be 15+ yrs for sexual predators of children. I voted no.


  65. - Flynn's mom - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:29 pm:

    I said no. It should have been a longer sentence and a larger fine. He sexually assaulted children and then conveniently forgot who and how many, he lied to federal authorities, he rose to power and made millions and thought that his “good life” should make it all go away. It’s a sad day for this country, a sad day for Illinois and a sad day for his family. He has ruined many lives and had the gall to think he should be given special treatment because of his former position. The wheelchair and brown velcro shoes were really poor props. Shame on him and shame on those who wrote letters of support, particularly Tom DeLay who threw in religion. ” He gets his integrity and values from Him.” Really??? Whose God supports sexually assaulting children?


  66. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    No. He violated a law that he probably voted to put in place (I did not check the record, so I am guessing on this). That, combined with the underlying crime (too late to prosecute on that), shows a remarkable disregard and contempt for the positions of authority that he held.


  67. - In 630 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    I voted no. Not through any fault of anyone in the process, it seems the judge went as hard as he could, and the prosecution brought the charges they could. But all of that is inadequate in the face of all that he did. The way sexual abuse and sexual assault are handled- not just statutes of limitations, but all of it- needs a big overhaul. I wish I knew what that would look like.


  68. - Steve - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:45 pm:

    The judge explained himself well. Dennis Hastert’s luck ran out. He has been exposed for what he is. 15 months is nothing compared to the lives he ruined. Hastert got what he got from the judge because of the statute of limitations on many crimes ran out. I give the judge credit for giving a harsher sentence than the prosecution wanted.


  69. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:47 pm:

    == Imagine if it had been Jesse Jackson thus accused. ==

    Or, for those with less imagination, Mel Reynolds. I said no, would have liked a little more time. With all the aggravating factors, 24-30 months sounds better to me. He probably wouldn’t serve it in any case.


  70. - Any Mouse - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:53 pm:

    No.
    When I consider the impact on the boys lives, I’m not even sure what justice would be.

    I respect the value of being a nation of laws, and not of men, but then there will be cases where the law cannot provide justice.

    Any justice would begin with a serious effort from Hastert to acknowledge the harm he has done. If he asked the brother of one of his victims for a letter of support, then we are along way from that.

    At least the victims are getting some public recognition of what he did. That is not nothing.


  71. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    This isn’t about Justice, it is about the Law.

    So be prepared to settle.


  72. - Sue - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:59 pm:

    Durkin was free to do what he wanted and overall- sentence/fine was fair BUT by not following the govt recommendation in pleas deal Durkin invited an appeal and whether meritorious or not will allow Hastert to run the sentence by the 7th circuit delaying his reporting to prison. Given Hastert’s health- if he appeals he may never go to prison


  73. - Century Club - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:00 pm:

    No. Too little, too late.


  74. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    47, I don’t believe I minimize the terribleness of the sexual molestation of anyone, especially children, by pointing out his sentence was significantly based on a crime he was never charged with, much less convicted of, a fact that Durkin makes clear in his remarks. As VM points out above, the courts are supposed to be about the law and the judge sentenced him to 2 1/2 times the sentence recommended by the feds, who don’t have the reputation of being charitable.

    Justice, no, and never could be. Justice, for instance, might well be a jury exonerating a parent who quite openly shot and killed a deviant who molested his child. But a judge shouldn’t. They are supposed to be the voice of the law.


  75. - Biography - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    Currency structuring should not even be a crime. It’s ridiculous that the government needs to have that kind of control over your money. I voted no for that reason.


  76. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:40 pm:

    Steve, with respect, how on earth can you separate the crime of illegal cash withdrawals from the reason he was illegally withdrawing the cash?

    When questioned about the withdrawals, he not only lied to the FBI, he tried to spin it that he was being extorted. Judge Durkin allowed the testimony from those who said they were molested by Hastert because it is relevant to the crime for which Hastert was being sentenced.

    If you can’t see that, you’re blind. Durkin followed the law and acted appropriately. To suggest otherwise is an attempt to minimize what Dennis Hastert admitted he did to children in his care.


  77. - Enviro - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    Voted yes. Revenge is about retaliation; justice about restoring balance.


  78. - Harry - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:00 pm:

    No. Even setting aside the molestations which are past the statute of limitations, Hastert lied when first asked about his financial manipulations and should have been charged with obstruction of justice in addition to the financial crime. The full 5 yrs he was at risk for wouldn’t have been enough.

    I assume that, the prosecutor having asked for a ridiculous 0-6 months, the Judge would have faced problems if he went too far over what the prosecutor asked for.

    This stinks to high heaven; yet again, a powerful person gets taken care of by friends in high places–in this case, the prosecutor or whomever was controlling him.


  79. - It Happened to Me - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:08 pm:

    Voted NO, As a child I was sexually molested by a family friend who made everything appear to be a game so I never told my parents until I was grown and found out he was married and his own wife turned him in for doing those things to his own children. By then he was in prison. 15 months is nothing compared to what the victims live with their whole lives.


  80. - Tommydanger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    People take punishment in different ways. Ryan and Blagojevich while doing longer prison time can fool themselves(and others) that they only did what plenty of others have done and that they have been unfairly singled out. They have (Ryan) and will (Blagojevich) upon their release find it easy to appear in front of the cameras and discuss current matters as if they were never sentenced to prison.

    Hastert lives for his reputation and having a federal judge repeatedly refer to you as a serial child molester and having to acknowledge in some small fashion that you sexually abused children in a federal courtroom is more of a punishment to Hastert than any time behind bars.

    Coupled with having to undergo sex offender treatment and the potential for additional disclosures through that process is again, a form of punishment to Hastert that he would gladly trade for more time in prison.

    Less prison time than his actions would otherwise seem to mandate, but the sentence to his reputation is forever and that will hurt him the most.


  81. - Dead Head - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    I voted, “No,” because I believe he should serve a much longer time in prison. When I first heard the report on the radio, I thought they said a 50 month sentence, and I thought that was fair. When I heard the actual number, I was extremely disappointed in the judicial system. I guess knowing the right people really pays off, and that is just plain wrong.


  82. - Huh? - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:17 pm:

    No. Would have voted yes if had been taken into custody immediately.

    That said, the damage Hastert has done to is reputation and place in history is legendary. When he dies, this episode will lead the news. His time in office will be mentioned and the reporters will circle back to his trial and conviction.


  83. - DOOPer - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    No, it’s not appropriate. I understand the sentencing guidelines and the offense for which he was charged, but people like this are monsters and deserve a far worse fate for destroying the lives of children he was expected to coach and teach. I hope there is a special place in hell waiting for him.


  84. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 4:15 pm:

    A strong No here.

    What happened to the “throw the book at ‘em” Federales who threw Blago, Rezko, etc, in the slammer and tossed the key?

    This entire process was failed justice start to finish. Hastert was undercharged-not that a charge for each currency transaction is fair but lying to the FBI certainly is. The sentencing recommendation was a joke and boxed in the Judge. He should have received the maximum sentence.


  85. - illini - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 5:52 pm:

    And to think that for 8 years he was literally 2 heart beats away from being POTUS!


  86. - One of the 35 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 6:46 pm:

    The statute of limitations prevents him from being tried for the correct crimes. We can only hope that the public humiliation somehow punishes him psychologically to a just degree.


  87. - Oswego resident - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 6:51 pm:

    Sentence should have been longer. At some point one would think Illinois politicians would get the message. I’m a long-time Kendall County resident who is tired of the hypocrisy and lies of our state and federal elected officials. Hastert got off easy from my point of view.


  88. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:05 am:

    I voted no; this is nowhere close to just.

    Hastert should have gotten the full 5 years if he’s going to get 50% good time credit for anything longer than one year. (And why did the Feds also not charge him with lying to them and impeding an investigation? Did he get this break because of his age, his skin color, or his economic bracket?)

    And I don’t care about his health issues. Hastert got into this trouble because he was too cheap to call a lawyer and have the settlement structured properly. When he was approached by the FBI over the structuring, Hastert blamed his victim.

    And then today we find out there may have been NINE victims at Yorkville H.S.? What proof do we have that other victims do not exist, whether in Washington, D.C., or perhaps somewhere overseas? I for one do not believe that this behavior ceased when Denny left Yorkville H.S. for the brighter political lights; would be curious to hear what Congressional pages have to say about his conduct during the years he was in D.C.


  89. - Courser - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 8:07 am:

    I voted “no.” The sentence should have been MUCH longer.


  90. - They're There Their - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 8:16 am:

    He molested children. He should spend the rest of his life in jail.


  91. - Mike - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 8:52 am:

    They had decided he could receive up to five years. He stood right there and admitted what he had done (yes I understand that is not what he was being tried for). He should have received the full sentence. Anyone else would have. Humiliation and losing his good name isn’t enough. He doesn’t deserve any special respect. And I would love to see an entire blog post dedicated to the people that wrote letters of support for him. I don’t understand what they were thinking. I don’t care if he saved people from burning building afterwards daily, he still doesn’t get any respect from me. He lost it when he attacked those children. The people that sent those letters should be ashamed of themselves. If they’re his family, maybe I get it. Otherwise, how could you? I hope he feels as lonely as those children must have felt and has time to reflect on God only knows how many crimes he actually committed.


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