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Just go away, dude

Thursday, Dec 22, 2016

* I know it’s Christmas, but I still can’t bring myself to forgive this man

More than 100 of Rod Blagojevich’s fellow inmates wrote letters to U.S. District Judge James Zagel before the former governor’s re-sentencing earlier this year.

They told the judge that Blagojevich, 60, “loves his family,” “loves to help other people,” and is “a leader and a good man.” One even wrote, “I don’t believe there is a man alive that I respect and appreciate more than Rod.”

But when Zagel took the bench in August, he said those inmates “don’t know him and they don’t know him in the context of a powerful officeholder in Congress and in Illinois.” Then, Zagel reinstated Blagojevich’s original 14-year prison sentence.

Now, the former governor’s lawyers have complained to an appellate court in a brief filed late Tuesday about Zagel’s quick dismissal of those letters, arguing Blagojevich deserves yet another sentencing hearing. The brief comes four months after the lawyers filed notice of their intention to appeal Blagojevich’s new prison sentence.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    If he “loves to help other people” then how does he explain the clemency petition backlog that Rauner just now finished dealing with, mainly by denying 97% of them.

  2. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    Inmate letters might help before a parole board. They have nothing to do with a sentencing hearing.

    He was sentenced for what he did before he went to prison. Before is all that counts.

  3. - illinoised - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    I look at it this way. The sins of Blagojevich are symptomatic of our dysfunctional state political environment which allows that type of person to assume the “leadership” of the entire state. That does not absolve his sins nor make me sympathetic for his early release, it just explains how such an incompetent person became governor.

  4. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:25 am:

    Blagojevich had zero sympathy for convicts asking for clemency during his term as governor. I have zero sympathy for him now. As said before, this was a re-sentencing, not a parole hearing.

  5. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Am I the only one picturing 100 inmates in a line ready to exchange their signature for free smokes from Prisoner Blago?

  6. - Grandpa2 - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    If you believe that every word in those letters was conceived and written by individual inmates without outside help, then you also believe that every word quoted in a political press release was uttered by the indicated speaker.

  7. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    “I don’t believe there is a man alive that I respect and appreciate more than Rod.”


  8. - Professor - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:37 am:

    The Court of Appeals in its decision of July, 2015 ended with, “Because we have affirmed the conviction on most counts and concluded that the advisory sentencing range lies above 168 months.” The sentence of 168 months is appropriate, in fact below the sentencing guidelines - the Appeals Court did not recommend release then, so what makes Blagojevich’s attorneys think the Court will change now.

  9. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    I think it is mistaken to underestimate the severity of Blago’s crimes. I have nothing personal against him (frankly I sort of like him and think he is funny in a “laugh at him” sort of way). But his behavior, while holding an executive position, undermines our democracy. It is an insult to the American way of life. I find it to be unforgivable.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    While I feel for the Blagojevich daughters, I have no sympathy for Patti (now) given her reactions these past few years, and had little to zero for Rod as he continued to show no remorse, a no remorse that continues to this day.

  11. - A Jack - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    Were those 100 inmates former Chicago alderman?

  12. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    Maybe the inmates just want him out of their lives.

  13. - Anonish - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    Wow, even other inmates don’t want him around.

    Jokes aside, it is a shame how his selfishness and greed have harmed his family and this state.

  14. - Ok - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:57 am:

    Just go away, dude?

    The wicked has no mercy.

  15. - Archiesmom - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    I echo the previous commenters – this might be appropriate for a parole hearing, but not for resentencing hearing.

  16. - A guy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    Any letters from outside the pen?

    I’ve always thought he got a little more time than he should have. Yet, he makes that argument more difficult to make with every passing communication from him. The collateral damage in all of this is the most heartbreaking.

  17. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:06 am:

    These are the people who spent $400,000 on clothes and then complained they wouldn’t be able to put their kids through college. Patti’s very lucky she’s not in the can as well.

  18. - Behind the Scenes - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:09 am:

    In the words of Baretta, the old TV cop, ‘if you can;t do the time, then don’t do the crime(s)’.

  19. - The Grinch - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    Rod is exactly where he should be, in prison. Patti is lucky she wasn’t charged as well. The harm they did to Illinois will be felt for generations to come.

  20. - 10th Ward - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    @ A Jack– hilarious…2 more may be on their way to join the 100? LOL SMH

  21. - anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    If we apply the “Blagojevich” standard to every politician in Illinois, they would all be in jail for 25 years to life. Jesse Jackson Jr.? Bobby Rush didn’t even get a slap on the hand. Blago crossed the wrong people who didn’t get their way and 14 years is the penalty. If we are going to punish people, the standard should be the same, not different.

  22. - Delimma - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:17 am:

    I agree. We should NEVER forgive a governor that harms our state.

  23. - Downstate Dem - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    It’s Christmas, we all should be thankful and charitable, so in that spirit I will not complain that our courts time is being wasted on the dribble of our imprisoned ex-governor. He did so much damage.

  24. - IRLJ - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    To borrow from the notable and quotable Hawk Harrelson, “He gone!”

  25. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:35 am:


    Comparative sentencing has been consistently rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court as well as the United States Supreme Court, for a multitude of reasons.

  26. - Signal and Noise - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:43 am:

    A large group of criminals all agree Rod is a natural leader and should be released.


  27. - Bogey Golfer - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Can the State require Blago reimburse the Court for the cost of these repetitive filings?

  28. - IRLJ - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    Comparative sentencing isn’t constitutionally required, but proportional sentencing is.

  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Correct, it wasn’t a comparative, nor proportional. Proportional would have given life plus 10

  30. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    You can draw a direct line from Gov. Blagojevich an and Gov. Rauner. If it wasn’t for the election and downfall of Blago, no way do we get Rauner.

    A Gov. (Jim) Ryan or a Gov. Topinka would have held this state together. They would have worked with Speaker Madigan, passed fiscally sound (conservative) budgets and ensured the future of our state.

    This needs to be a lesson for us all. Gov. (George) Ryan led to Gov. Blago. We need to stop electing bad people. Blago got a 2nd term beating one of the best state-wide officials in my lifetime. That shouldn’t have happened.

  31. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    He’s just doing this so I’ll write another song parody about him.

    He’s had enough!

  32. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:06 pm:

    No doubt Zagel gave Rod a heavy sentence and it seems excessive to me but it’s perfectly within the guidelines. Blago didn’t successfully complete his criminal acts but he took substantial steps toward completion. His sentence reflects the punishment for completing those criminal acts because federal sentencing considers a substantial step to commit an act the same as actually committing the act in almost every instant. Although Blago was completely inept in executing his criminal plans, he was sentenced commensurate with the attempted crimes. Regardless of what you think of Rod, his children don’t have their dad. Nothing good here.

  33. - W Flag - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    I would like him to go away too. Sometimes, I think that his sentence was excessive, but then I think of all of the other things that he pulled and it seems more acceptable. It is sort of like Capone getting the maximum sentence on tax charges. Maybe the sentencing judge had a newspaper subscription.

    The one missing puzzle piece that we may never learn about was the complete story of the calls from the President-elect’s administration about the vacant US Senate seat. The official review that took place seemed to be all about saving face.

    Blagojevich’s term as governor was a tragedy and we are still paying for it.

  34. - Bradley A Zahn - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:21 pm:

    Maybe he can petition his old reality TV co-star turned president elect for a pardon!

  35. - Rufus - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    I thought we were kind to those with mental deficiencies. We need to treat Blago as if he were “special”. I see no other treatment, given what’s he done.

  36. - W Flag - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:53 pm:

    I also think that Zagel noted the nearly complete absence of remorse and the media circus that Blagojevich and his handlers orchestrated in the months running up to the trial. It was like the hearing in “Animal House.”

  37. - Gone, but not forgotten - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    Typical Democrat these days = if at first you don’t succeed, CRY, CRY Again!

  38. - burbanite - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    I think keeping him in jail is a waste of money.

  39. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    Boy, Rod’s hand must be cramped from writing all those letters.

  40. - Johnny Justice - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    Hopefully, everyone has had fun getting their pound of flesh.

    While Rod broke the law, he was clearly way over sentenced. Many violent criminals who kill or maim get less. Further, we all know many politicians have made campaign contributions a quid pro quo for getting X, Y or Z government benefit, they’re just a lot more subtle about it. This doesn’t excuse Rod’s conduct, but 14 years was the product of a vengeful judge understandably ticked off by Rod’s off the wall conduct. A good, fair judge is supposed to put him/herself above all this and sentence the defendant based on their criminal conduct, not out of revenge for courtroom antics. By any measure 14 years was an unjust sentence. Good for Rod and his attorneys for appealing it. Hopefully, the Court of Appeals will render justice!

  41. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    Johnny Justice

    “By any measure 14 years was an unjust sentence”

    Disagree. By the measure that values the fabric this country was built on, and by the measure that holds our elected officials accountable for inexcusable criminal offenses, it was a just sentence.

  42. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    Meh, he’s got to fill the days somehow.

    Anyone hear how Gov. Ryan is doing on his book? It’s been a while since he mentioned it.

  43. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    One would think that Rods lenghty sentence is a deterrent for others. Meh not so much.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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