Monday, December 26, 2016

Blagojevich wants a commutation? Is he better off asking “President Trump”

If there were truly a sense of cosmic justice in our political world, President Barack Obama would choose to do absolutely nothing with the request by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich – who’d like it if Obama would grant Milorod a “Get Out of Jail, Free” card.
BLAGOJEVICH: Let me out now!!!

It was reported last week that Blagojevich, who currently is serving a 14-year federal prison term and isn’t scheduled for release until 2024, filed a request with the president for commutation of his sentence.

WHICH IN BASIC language means that Obama would decide the time Blagojevich already has served at a federal correctional center in Colorado is sufficient punishment for his criminal conviction.

In short, he’s begging that he be released from prison now and that he be set free at age 60 – rather than having to continue rotting in a prison cell until he hits age 68 – as is currently scheduled.

Personally, I don’t expect Obama to actually grant Blagojevich his request. But there is a sense in which I think it would be so apropos if Obama were to somehow manage to lose track of all the final actions he has to take care of before Noon on Jan. 20 – which is the time at which his presidential authority ceases to exist and the clown show to be known as the Trump presidency begins.

I actually think that Obama acknowledging the request would be much better than Blagojevich ever granted back in the days when he was our state’s governor and had his own powers of clemency and pardon to grant as he saw fit.

FOR BLAGOJEVICH WAS one of those people who believed he didn’t really want to be bothered taking the time to consider criminal cases.

Perhaps it dated back to his days just out of law school when he was an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County – meaning he had a certain respect for the legal process and presumed it wouldn’t be right for him to do anything that would undermine it.

Or maybe Blagojevich just had a lazy streak when it came to such issues.
OBAMA: Will he 'Blago' Rod's request?

For whatever reason, during the six or so years that Blagojevich was governor – he only ruled on about 1,000 clemency petitions. At the point in time he was impeached, there were some 3,000 cases left unresolved.

THIS WAS JUST a man who didn’t want to be bothered.

As it was, Blagojevich’s lieutenant governor went on to become Gov. Pat Quinn, and he would up having to deal with the backlog, ultimately issuing decisions on nearly 5,000 clemency requests (and granting about 1,800 of them).

The backlog didn’t really get caught up until our current governor, Bruce Rauner, who earlier this year issued a statement saying the state was finally caught up – although Rauner wound up rejecting all but 3 percent of the requests he ruled on.

That might be a cold-hearted view for a governor to have, but the reality of clemency is that it is up to the whim of a particular governor. It makes me wonder how many cases might have had a chance of being considered IF ONLY Blagojevich had got off his duff and taken this particular duty of his office a bit more seriously. Because it is understandable that when faced with an overload of cases, the chances of all of them getting a legitimate viewing decreases significantly.

ALSO, IT’S NOT like Blagojevich is asking for a pardon – which would mean a clearing of his record AFTER he served the entirety of his prison sentence. He wants to get out early – even though federal judges have already ruled his 14-year prison term isn’t overly harsh (despite those of us who think it is a tad too long) in a purely legal context.
TRUMP: Would he rule better for Rod?

Does anyone think that Obama, who was never that close with Blagojevich during the time that the two of them were colleagues, of sorts, on the Illinois political scene, would actually be inclined to grant anything to him. Particularly for all the flack he'd have to take publicly if he were to even consider such a request!

Considering that Blagojevich considered Obama to be a rival who stole public attention he thought ought to be rightfully is, Obama’s reaction to this request could well be a sign of how much bigger a man he is.

Although I still think the proper reaction might well be for Obama to do nothing and leave Rod’s fate to the future president – a fat chance that would have any chance of succeeding.


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