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Opinion The Roger Stone case highlights our pernicious system of tiered justice

18:10  13 february  2020
18:10  13 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

U.S. judge denied Trump adviser Stone's request for a new trial: filing

  U.S. judge denied Trump adviser Stone's request for a new trial: filing U.S. judge denied Trump adviser Stone's request for a new trial: filingU.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a Feb. 5 order, said the Republican operative's lawyers had "not presented grounds for a new trial ... or any reason to believe there has been 'a serious miscarriage of justice.

That’s the pernicious thing about tiered justice : It blinds its recipients to the system ’s everyday cruelty. So long as no one in the political class experiences the worst of it, there’s no incentive for the political class to care. This week, as Trump and his supporters howl out allegations that Stone is the

Roger J. Stone Jr. leaving Federal District Court in November.Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times. Both the sentencing recommendation and the president’s tweet took officials at Justice Department headquarters by surprise, according to a department official who spoke on condition of

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Roger Stone wearing a suit and tie standing next to a car: Roger Stone arrives at federal court for the second day of jury selection for his federal trial in November 2019 in Washington.© Cliff Owen/AP Roger Stone arrives at federal court for the second day of jury selection for his federal trial in November 2019 in Washington.

It has been quite an experience to watch the reactions from the Trump administration as his officials and surrogates make their way through the criminal-justice system.

They’re similar to the way right-wing personalities such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh reacted to the Duke lacrosse case. The indignation and anger over how the lacrosse players were mistreated (and they were mistreated) never evolved into the realization that perhaps the criminal-justice system treats nonwhite people the same way, or even worse. (To their credit, the lacrosse players themselves seemed to get it.)

Roger Stone asks for new trial in sealed motion, one day after Trump accused jury forewoman of bias

  Roger Stone asks for new trial in sealed motion, one day after Trump accused jury forewoman of bias Defense attorneys for Roger Stone demanded a new trial Friday, one day after President Trump suggested that the forewoman in his friend’s case had “significant bias.” 

The insulation of justice officials from any political interference in their handling of criminal Stone was convicted by a jury in November of lying to investigators, obstructing a congressional Democratic leaders of the committee said they wanted to address “the misuse of our justice system for political

The abrupt withdrawals came after the Justice Department overruled their recommendation for a stiffer sentence for Mr. Stone , a longtime friend and informal adviser of President Mr. Marando, 42, became the fourth and final member of the prosecution team who withdrew from the Stone case on Tuesday.

So we get righteous fury over the FBI’s mistakes in obtaining wiretaps for former foreign policy adviser Carter Page, even as Republicans vote to reauthorize the law that allowed those taps and reject proposed reforms. We get President Trump bashing the federal law enforcement apparatus even as he praises countries whose governments execute people accused of selling drugs. We get angry denunciations of the “jackboots” who arrested Roger Stone and raided Michael Cohen’s office and residence (though they were both treated far better than, say, your average suspected pot dealer), while Trump encourages police brutality against everyday suspects and Attorney General William P. Barr declares that people who criticize law enforcement for brutality against black people aren’t worthy of police protection.

GOP senator on Trump's Roger Stone tweets: 'Tweeting less would not cause brain damage'

  GOP senator on Trump's Roger Stone tweets: 'Tweeting less would not cause brain damage' Sen. John Kennedy suggested President Trump should stop tweeting about the Department of Justice and, therefore, placing Attorney General William Barr in difficult situations. © Provided by Washington ExaminerThe Louisiana Republican appeared on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday to defend the president against allegations that he is attempting to subvert justice in the case of GOP operative Roger Stone. Kennedy said that the president’s tweets earlier this week on the DOJ’s case against Stone placed Barr in an "awkward spot" but were not illegal.

In November, Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, thereby obstructing the investigation of Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice !” Trump regularly claims exoneration in the Russia On Monday night, Trump also labelled the prosecutors’ request in Stone ’s case “Disgraceful!” and

The interference of senior Justice Department officials in the Roger Stone case is a particularly ominous affront to the rule of law. It is but a short They are heroes, and I fervently hope that they will someday find themselves on the team assigned to prosecute our lawless president and his henchmen.

And now we have Stone, and Barr’s decision to rescind the seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation filed by the federal prosecutors working on the case.

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Generally speaking, the federal sentencing guidelines are far too harsh across a wide array of crimes. And generally speaking, any time the average defendant gets a break from those guidelines is a net win for justice. But when someone gets a break from the laws that apply to everyone else because that person has unique access to power, it’s a net loss for justice. This is particularly true when the crime for which the person is getting the break is that of lying to protect the person who is granting it. And all the more so when the person granting the break is the country’s chief law enforcement officer.

It’s tempting to celebrate the fact that Barr’s intervention means that at least one person might get a sentence less draconian and more proportional to his crimes. But this sort of justice doesn’t trickle down: Five years from now, no drug conspiracy defendant is going to get a break after he’s caught lying to federal law enforcement because Barr intervened on Stone’s behalf back in February 2020. Instead, we get tiered justice: one kind for the connected, another for everyone else.

Harris demands Barr testify over Roger Stone sentence recommendation

  Harris demands Barr testify over Roger Stone sentence recommendation Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is demanding that Attorney General William Barr testify publicly over the Justice Department's decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Trump associate Roger Stone. Harris is asking Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to call Barr before the panel, which she is also a member of. "I request that you immediately schedule a hearing for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department's decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case," Harris wrote in a letter to Graham.

The final decision on Stone ’s fate will rest with US district judge Amy Berman Jackson, who repeatedly took a harsh tone with Stone during his trial for obstruction of justice , lying to Congress and witness tampering. Roger Stone furore shows 'crisis of credibility' in US justice system , experts warn.

Barr is a ‘tough on crime’ hypocrite, a Trump toady and chief law enforcement officer who makes a mockery of the legal system .

Let’s be clear: Barr intervened on Stone’s behalf because Stone protected Trump. This is even though Stone violated a gag order in his case — more than once — and threatened a federal judge. (Stone had previously publicly threatened to kill “globalists” and promised a civil war if Trump is impeached.) Even so, I don’t think Stone should go to prison for nine years. But you can bet prosecutors would be asking for at least as much time if, say, a black nationalist or Islamist extremist had done what Stone has done.

That’s the pernicious thing about tiered justice: It blinds its recipients to the system’s everyday cruelty. So long as no one in the political class experiences the worst of it, there’s no incentive for the political class to care.

This week, as Trump and his supporters howl out allegations that Stone is the victim of a political vendetta even as he gets breaks and special treatment, they distract from the fact that regular citizens are treated far worse. Those people don’t have access to power, and because they don’t have access to power, no one can claim political persecution. But if anything, we should be more concerned about the casual, everyday injustice dispensed in courtrooms across the country — the kind inflicted not because of partisanship, but because the same political class that gets special treatment when it is accused of crimes has designed a punitive, retributive system that is impervious at best to the well-being of the people churned through it.

'Complicated things': Trump impeachment lawyer scolds him for tweeting about Roger Stone case

  'Complicated things': Trump impeachment lawyer scolds him for tweeting about Roger Stone case A Trump impeachment defense lawyer chided the president for tweeting his congratulations to Attorney General William Barr for "taking charge" of the case against his longtime associate Roger Stone. © Provided by Washington ExaminerAttorney Robert Ray, who served on the White House defense team during President Trump's Senate impeachment trial, joined radio show The Cats Roundtable on Sunday and weighed in on Trump's tweet, saying it "complicated things.

The abrupt withdrawals came after the Justice Department overruled their recommendation for a stiffer sentence for Mr. Stone , a longtime friend and informal adviser of President Mr. Marando, 42, became the fourth and final member of the prosecution team who withdrew from the Stone case on Tuesday.

Stone lied to Congress about his role in the matter and obstructed its fact-finding, prosecutors charged; he was found guilty in November on all seven counts in his trial and is Attorney General Barr must immediately testify about political interference in the Roger Stone case . Americans deserve answers.

There’s no better example of the Trump administration’s embrace of tiered justice than the one pointed out by Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly. On the very day that Barr intervened to rescind the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for Stone, he also gave a speech to a conference of county sheriffs in which he attacked progressive, reform-minded district attorneys for their refusal to prosecute certain types of crimes. He argued that those decisions jeopardize investigations of more serious crimes that “depend heavily on obtaining information from members of the community.”

Barr was accusing progressive DAs of undermining criminal investigations by enabling witness intimidation. One of the crimes for which Stone was convicted: undermining a criminal investigation by threatening a witness.

Read more:

Chuck Rosenberg: This is a revolting assault on the fragile rule of law

Jennifer Rubin: The Justice Department becomes a political hit squad for an unleashed president

Greg Sargent: Time for Democrats to get much tougher with William Barr


Feds seek 7 to 9 years in prison for Trump ally Roger Stone .
Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence President Donald Trump's confidant Roger Stone to serve between 7 and 9 years in prison after his conviction on witness tampering and obstruction charges. 

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