Friday, May 7, 2010

Sen. Bruno's sentence and the "honest-services" statute

(“You committed a crime. The jury told you that. You can’t accept it. You have blinders on. You simply can’t see it,” Judge Gary Sharpe told ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno before sentencing him to two years in prison on federal corruption charges.)
(“I know you don’t believe you did anything wrong,” U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe told Bruno. “You’re not sorry because you don’t believe you did anything wrong. … (But) you trampled on the integrity of the state Legislature.”)
The TU has it right this morning that ethics reform is needed for the Legislature.
Judge Sharpe’s comment is silly.
I can say this because I don’t ever expect to come before the judge. If I do, I am toast.
Someone has said that the Empire State Egg is really a UFO. And once a UFO lands, it doesn’t leave.
When it did land, it may have transported Judge Sharpe into Albany. His feeling that Bruno’s travail will put the fear of God into the Legislature is alien thinking.
Federal judges should not have life tenure.
I went down to the courthouse yesterday and was there when Bruno arrived.
Not having a press badge, or being an invited guess, I could not go inside.
The surprise is that there were few, if any, public outside the courthouse.
Sharpe’s sentence lacked creativity. There were many alternative sentence possibilities for Bruno, short of prison.
Based on the media reports, Sharpe did not address the vague,unconstitutional “honest-services fraud statute”; and the Torquemada-type role of the fed. prosecutors in using this statute against Bruno.
The Supreme Court heard three cases based on this “honest-services” statute; and all 9 seem to agree it is vague and likely unconstitutional.
They will issue their opinion soon.
The fed. prosecutors in Chicago were so afraid that this statute would allow Gov.Blago to go free that they decided not to use it against him.
The assistant US attorney Eliz Coombe likely should be charged with violating the “honest-services” statute.Her role has been intellectually,morally and legally corrupt.
She’s the one that wanted to take away Bruno’s passport, citing a flight risk.She’s the one advocating the draconian 8 years sentence.And she is perhaps brain dead.

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