The Logic of the President

I’m posting the following without other comment.  It’s written by Richard Schmitt of the LA Times.  He is quoting U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who heard the Scooter Libbey case and sentenced him.

“In light of these considerations … it is fair to say that the court is somewhat perplexed as to how its sentence could accurately be characterized as ‘excessive,’ ” Walton wrote.

“Although it is certainly the president’s prerogative to justify the exercise of his constitutional commutation power in whatever manner he chooses, the court notes that the term of incarceration imposed in this case was determined after a careful consideration of each of the requisite statutory factors.”

The 30-month sentence for Libby, Walton observed, was at the low end of federal sentencing guidelines. The Bush administration and the Justice Department, he pointed out, have been strong proponents of those guidelines for judges, which are supposed to ensure that defendants in federal cases receive similar sentences for the same crimes.

“Indeed, only recently the president’s attorney general called for the passage of legislation to ‘restore the binding nature of the sentencing guidelines so that the bottom of the recommended sentencing range would be a minimum for judges, not merely a suggestion,'” Walton wrote.

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