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    02 July 2007

    Commuting the sentence means they're hiding something

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    Besides being an enormous departure from precedent, the extraordinarily special treatment of convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr. shows a President who was and is hiding something. Article Two gives the President the right to grant clemency, true. But typically they follow the stated guidelines. In this case however, the executive has ignored numerous standards and guidelines. These 2 points, however, stand out and deserve to be noted.

    First, this is where the president likely saw light for Libby:
    Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions
    Generally, commutation of sentence is an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted. Appropriate grounds for considering commutation have traditionally included disparity or undue severity of sentence, critical illness or old age, and meritorious service rendered to the government by the petitioner, e.g., cooperation with investigative or prosecutive efforts that has not been adequately rewarded by other official action. A combination of these and/or other equitable factors may also provide a basis for recommending commutation in the context of a particular case.

    You can't find too many people willing to make this argument but when you're this president, what do you have to loose? Popularity? Credibility? The location of Saddam's WMD???

    Some people are quick to add that "service rendered" is grounds for petition as well. But I read the guidelines as meaning "services rendered" pertaining to the case (and obstruction doesn't count). The case which is still open. Which brings us to this portion of the guidelines
    Sec. 1.3 Eligibility for filing petition for commutation of sentence.
    No petition for commutation of sentence, including remission of fine, should be filed if other forms of judicial or administrative relief are available, except upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.

    So isn't this case still under appeal? Heck, the case is still open. There is still plenty of "relief" available. And if the case was final and all avenues for relief were exhausted, reducing his sentence would have been the just response, not terminating it outright.

    But hey, let's just have Congress investigate and debate this pardon gift of clemency on TV everyday and/or the Grand Jury continue to search deeper into the underlying crime; perhaps by granting immunity.

    Posted by Geoff [UPDATED 9:37 PM]

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