Thursday, December 18, 2014

New judge in Siegelman case decides to protect his corrupt colleagues by denying request for release

Don Siegelman
Today's ruling that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will not be released pending a January hearing on his latest appeal is a sign that the federal judiciary in the South--and perhaps across the country--is in full damage control. It's also a sign that Clay Land is not an honest or courageous judge, even though he does a better job of his predecessor, Mark Fuller, in trying to act like one.

Land's primary grounds for denying Siegelman's request for release was that the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had already ruled on matters related to Leura Canary's recusal in the appeal of Siegelman codefendant Richard Scrushy. Siegelman argued that Canary, former U.S. attorney under George W. Bush, did not honor her recusal--and presented ample evidence that Canary remained involved with the case long after she had supposedly stepped aside. Land admitted that Siegelman had raised ""significant issues that deserve serious consideration." (See order at the end of this post.)

But then the judge, from the Middle District of Georgia, dropped back to punt. In essence, he said, "The trial court and appellate court have already ruled on this issue, and it would make the judiciary look bad if I corrected them now. Please understand that I'm not saying the previous rulings are correct; there's a good chance they are not. In fact, this case is riddled with incorrect rulings, including the fact that prosecutors brought it well outside the five-year statute of limitations. Heck, convicted child rapist and former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky got more favorable treatment in court than did Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy. But I don't have the courage to stand up and say my fellow judges got it wrong. Unfortunately, our courts are not about dispensing justice; they are about protecting the judiciary and legal elites."

That's what we mean by damage control. The federal judiciary in the South has taken a much-deserved pounding in the past 12 months or so. First came revelations that Eleventh Circuit judge Bill Pryor, whose duty station is in Birmingham, has ties to 1980s and '90s gay pornography via nude photographs that appeared at a Web site called Then came reports that Fuller, the original trial judge on the Siegelman case, had been arrested for beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room. That was followed by thunderous calls for Fuller's resignation, plus a vow from U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) that she will initiate impeachment proceedings when Congress gathers again in January.

Just yesterday, we had a report here at Legal Schnauzer that Pryor--because of his gay-porn secrets--is vulnerable to blackmail by conservative interests led by GOP guru Karl Rove, who once was Pryor's campaign manager in a run for Alabama attorney general. Our report stated that Pryor has become a "gatekeeper" or "fixer," ensuring that cases of particular importance turn out in a favorable way for the Rove faction.

Pryor's reputation as a fixer apparently extends to state-court matters because, as we reported earlier this week, prominent Alabama Republican Rob Riley sought out the judge for possible intervention in a Lee County grand-jury investigation that threatens the Riley Political Machine.

In that kind of environment, where flagrant corruption has become the norm, is it any wonder that Don Siegelman's request for release was denied? When will the public demand a federal investigation that likely would send numerous bad actors--including judges, lawyers, and politicians--to federal prisons? When will the public turn to the kind of protests we've recently seen in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City over apparent police misconduct?

U.S. law enforcement apparently is infested with rogue officers, but our guess is that the judiciary (state and federal) is even worse. Clay Land's ruling today just adds to a mountain of evidence that a major shakeup is in order.


Anonymous said...

These judges have an investment in what has been done previously in the Siegelman case, and they aren't going to turn their backs on it now. Don's innocent, but as you say, it's not about justice and never has been

Anonymous said...

God help our country.

Anonymous said...

Land's not about to rock the boat. He's a young guy who probably has dreams of a spot on 11th Circuit or even SCOTUS. He's not going to move up by showing that judges above him are clodheads.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think Land got it right. He says he doesn't think the 11th Circuit will grant a reversal or new trial, and I think he's right about that. In fact, he says in the opinion that it's not his job to determine if the trial/appellate courts have been right or wrong. In fact, he strongly hints he thinks they have gotten important stuff wrong. But he says the standard for him is: Is Siegelman likely to get reversal or a new trial, and Land says no. I think he's right.

legalschnauzer said...

Yours is a thoughtful comment, @9:32, although it doesn't speak well for our justice system. I will take you one step farther--I suspect Land KNOWS the 11th Circuit won't grant a new trial--that the cake already is baked.

Anonymous said...

I think an investigation of Bill Pryor is long overdue.

Steve said...

It is long past time for Obama to act on this now. It is surely in his power to grant a pardon for a non existent crime to both Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. It woyuld be guaranteed to make Karl Roves head explode!

Ed Snowed Us said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
e.a.f. said...

welcome to the home of the cowards and the not so free. America has achieved the same sort of status as the countries they rail against. The American judicial system is every bit as bad as those in other dictatorships.

The Republicans can talk all they want about Cuba and Castro, but really what is the real difference. Americans just drive newer cars and have more t.v. sets. The country isn't free and it certainly doesn't have a proper judicial system, or police system. Just count the bodies of African-American males.

Anonymous said...

On December 27, 1945, 29 governments signed the final agreement. In January 1946, representatives of 34 nations came together for an introductory meeting of the Board of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank in Savannah, Georgia.

The IMF has been the business that occupies the USA, and that WHOM is the entity paying the so called "Justice System".

There was no justice in setting up a system which recycles the human beings as though only to be recycled commodities.

Commodities that became easier and easier to gamble with all the lives, properties, monies, and name what the American does not lose in "Free Market Capitalism."

Don knows the system, he trusts the system he said so. He was a Governor and he knew about the IMF, all Governors of the USA are well-aware of what they have to do to pay-play.

Don found, as do the majority of the USA citizens -- simply living as though the reality is real is but a big racket.

Someone long ago wrote a poem here about the Racket Jackals and that is exactly what the truth is, read the book,

Pillaging the World. The History and Politics of the IMF.

America is in a revolution and no one knows how the END ends.

Good luck Americans

Anonymous said...

The Good is not allowed in the American system of US Courts! Only the Bad and the Ugly, clearly.

Anonymous said...

I hear Bill Pryor has a boyfriend at Bradley Arant. Can't remember the guy's name, but it's pretty well known in the legal community. My ex husband is a lawyer and knows all about it.

Ed Snowed Us said...

Which of the Justices on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that heard Don's earlier appeal, was also the Alabama Attorney General under the sitting Governor, Don Siegelman, a huge CONFLICT OF INTEREST, that permitted the 2002 Governor's race to be STOLEN, by refusing to grant an investigation of the claim that thousands of votes were reversed?
Bill Pryor of course.

Don locked up suits him just fine.