Monday, December 15, 2008

Is Siegelman Appeals Panel Trying to Protect Corrupt Judge?

It has been a week since oral arguments were heard in Atlanta on the appeal of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. But a major mystery about the proceedings remains:

Why did the three-judge panel spend most of its time asking questions about relatively minor issues--juror misconduct and an obstruction-of-justice charge involving the sale of a motorcycle? Why did the justices largely ignore the case's centerpiece--the alleged bribery scheme between Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy?

Adam Nossiter, of The New York Times, was one of several journalists who seemed baffled by the judges' questioning. When one of Siegelman's lawyers tried to raise his main argument--that the government failed to show a quid pro quo agreement between Siegelman and Scrushy--Judge J.L. Edmondson cut him off. "I don't think that's going to be your best argument today," the judge said.

Edmondson's statement, of course, is goofy because the bribery argument, showing the trial judge Mark Fuller gave an unlawful jury instruction on the issue, is central to the case.

So what was Edmondson up to? Well, we have a theory here at Legal Schnauzer.

Experience has taught me that many judges and lawyers are like members of a dysfunctional fraternity--something out of Animal House, without the humor.

They will go to extraordinary lengths to protect a fellow member of the tribe and hide the seamy underbelly of their profession. I suspect that is what Edmondson was doing by steering the conversation away from the bribery issue.

With the juror-misconduct issue, the focus was on jurors. With the obstruction-of-justice issue, the focus was on an inanimate object--a motorcycle--and a charge that was essentially an add-on to the main case.

But the bribery issue put the focus right where it belongs, on corrupt U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller. Had Edmondson allowed the bribery argument to proceed, two truths would have become clear:

* Fuller intentionally treated a legal campaign contribution as an illegal bribe; and

* Fuller intentionally gave the jury unlawful instructions, which virtually guaranteed a conviction.

What does this mean for the appellate panel's ruling? That is anyone's guess. Evidence for granting a new trial is overwhelming, and some experts say the convictions could be tossed altogether.

But my guess is that, even in their written ruling, the appeals judges will go out of their way to protect Fuller. The oral argument, which lasted less than an hour, probably was for show anyway, I suspect. The judges have plenty of written information before them to make what should be an easy decision.

Even if the judges write an opinion that is highly favorable for Siegelman and Scrushy, look for them to steer attention away from Fuller. It remains unclear how hard-nosed an Obama administration will be about rampant corruption in the Bush Justice Department. But it's possible that Mark Fuller could receive some unwelcome scrutiny in 2009.

My guess is that the all-Republican panel in the Siegelman appeal will do its best to take a corrupt crony out of the cross hairs.


Anonymous said...

What part of the word corruption can you not spell?

You're a brilliant writer and therefore, you know intuitively before it happens in print, the "agenda."

Siegelman is an agenda for the NWO to prove it has teeth that cannot be dulled.

Do not put one iota of HOPE (Obama has been one of the worst pablum brands America has EVER swallowed, btw), in the LEGAL/JUDICIAL system of the US until it has sung its' own SWAN SONG, and this tune is rapidly being doled out in sheet music ...

study the number of legal "firms" going bust.

The exception is, but of course, the criminal white collar departments which have become quite lucrative with the HEBE, such as MADOFF.

But, he was probably offered quite a sum of money to throw himself under the bus, when the real criminal is RUBIN and CITI. Funny how those close to Obama ARE OF THE SAME CLOTH (Federal Reserve, et al.) and therefore, "immune?"

OUR US SYSTEM IS BROKE. This is a definitive in play on word and pun.

Daniel Becker said...

Did tell you the story about how I had to hire a detective to find the stenographer of my divorce because there was a huge section of the transcript missing? Yeah, it was the section of cross examination of the witness (another attorney)called by the ex's attorney to bolster her case for fees. Just as the witness was about to get into big trouble, the judge stopped my attorney. Stopped him cold, said he did not want this fine attorney witness to risk jeopardy and end it right there.

The day the investigator I hired was to meet with the stenographer, the judge announced that boxes of transcripts were found and the stenographer was going to review and recertify the record.

ABSOLUTELY TRUE STORY OF RI LEGAL JUSTICE. I got more too if you care to hear them.

What you are reporting on is throughout our entire legal system.

legalschnauzer said...

Would be glad to hear more about your experiences. I've heard from many people who've had troubling experiences in family court.

Daniel Becker said...

I just presented this one story of my experience to put emphasis on your point:
Experience has taught me that many judges and lawyers are like members of a dysfunctional fraternity--something out of Animal House, without the humor.

The emphasis being that such an observation is in truth an aspect of the personality of our legal system. My personal experience in a seemingly insignificant house of justice, "family court", is evidence of the primacy of the personality trait of the entity known as "the legal system".

For me, the significance for understanding such is found in the 2005 World Bank report on just what creates true wealth. For a nation like ours it is the legal system (50%) and the education system (36%) if I recall the numbers correctly. Thus, as we live the current economic mess, what is found in the Siegelman case reaching down to my case is the undoing of 1/2 of the primary force in creating wealth and thus improving our lives.

It's not that we deregulated or that Siegelman was railroaded, it's that 1/2 of our foundation for all that is and will be is rotten. Consider the education system being shifted from serving societies need for a citizenry bathed in knowledge in order to fulfill the promise of democracy to serving business' need for defined labor and you will realize just how much in trouble we are.

36% of the foundation has been removed and 50% is rotten.

Anonymous said...

Its the same old thing over and over judges protecting bad judges cops protecting bad cops doctors protecting bad doctors somewhere down the line someones got to realize that if you dont flush the toilet every once in a while your also gonna be walking in shit