Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blagojevich becoming oh so predictable

The sad part of the predicament facing former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is that it has become so predictable.
BLAGOJEVICH: Being picked on?

Attorneys for Blagojevich filed motions late Monday that seek a new trial – even though he has yet to be sentenced for the 18 charges (don’t forget the one conviction from his first trial) upon which he has been found “guilty.”

HIS PROFOUND ARGUMENT for thinking he’s entitled to another “do over” in court? It basically comes down to the level of, “the judge is picking on me.” My eight-year-old nieces make more convincing arguments.

Which is not a legal argument that I think U.S. District Judge James Zagel will take the least bit seriously. We all fully expect he will reject this line of thought and will proceed with sentencing – giving Blagojevich some time in prison where he likely will have to spend time while his real legal appeal takes place.

By that, I mean the appeals that ultimately go to the Court of Appeals circuit based in Chicago, then up to the Supreme Court of the United States (if that high court is willing to take on the case).

That ultimately is where Blagojevich’s fate will be resolved, and where any argument about whether the flaws committed during the trial are so profound that they warrant either a new sentencing – or an outright new trial.

THE ONLY SIGNIFICANCE to this first appeal is that it gives us the idea of what direction Blagojevich’s later legal appeals will take. Which means this is going to be purely a personality conflict.

It is going to claim that Zagel was so determined to have a trial that ended in significant verdicts of “guilty” that he went too far in his pre-trial rulings; hemming in the defense with so many restrictions that they were never able to get at the “truth.”

Only the version of the “truth” that prosecutors desired – which is the equivalent of the defendant admitting he’s a piece of political pond scum who seriously deserves the full 300 years that Blagojevich theoretically could get, and where anything less of a sentence would be an overgenerous show of compassion.

Yes, I personally do believe that the whole Blagojevich legal saga has become something taking on elements of a witch hunt, in which the public mood of those people who can’t stand Milorod is swaying the process to the point where there never was a chance that he could be acquitted of anything.

IF HE HAD been, we’d have a societal mood that would proclaim Blagojevich and Casey Anthony to be the perfect couple – to have to go into hiding and take on aliases in our society to ensure their very survival.

But I don’t think any Blagojevich appeal that focuses so intently on “the judge is picking on me” as its basis is going to succeed.

Zagel will reject it, and I am skeptical that the justices on the eventual three-member appeals panel that will hear his case will be inclined to trash one of their judicial colleagues – particularly not on behalf of Rod Blagojevich.

And I could easily see the Supreme Court of the United States seeing this appeal as a personality squabble, instead of some case involving great legal issues that must be resolved for our nation to continue to survive as we know it.

BECAUSE WHAT THIS appeal consists of as its “great legal issue” (heavy sarcasm intended) is that Zagel ruled too often in favor of prosecutors. That shows his bias.

By that standard, just about any criminal defendant could argue that their respective conviction is flawed. Because the judges are a part of the process. It is all too common that the types of people who want to get into enforcing and interpreting the law are going to do so in a manner meant to uphold the status quo.
ZAGEL: Doubtful he'll rule he unfair to Blagojevich

The true revolutionaries who want to overturn it are going to work a few steps outside of the process.

Then, there are the silly types like Blagojevich – who even in his earliest political days as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from the Ravenswood and Lincoln Square neighborhoods showed traces of trivial thought in the way he approached public policy and politics.

PERHAPS IT IS only natural that their legal motions are going to reek of the same sense of triviality. It’s just a shame that it means that once we work our way through the process in which prosecutors have to file written responses to Blagojevich’s claims before Zagel can officially rule on/reject it, the outcome will truly be that predictable.

And it will be some time before the name “Blagojevich” becomes a forgettable footnote to our political scene.


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