Monday, April 17, 2006

Guilty 22, Not Guilty 0

Wow, did I pick a time to start posting again. Don't even know where to start with this one. (And given that the story is posted everywhere, I won't bother posting links) Let me deal with what I think the fallout is from this one:

1. For those that say that nobody testified that they saw him take any money, remember that he was not charged with accepting bribes, that was the five dozen other people who got caught up in the license for bribes scandal. He was charged with racketeering and various derivative counts.

2. In essence, the clean sweep verdict means that the jury did not buy into ANY of the defense theories, and that they felt that this was a clear deviation from politics as it is supposed to be done.

3. Webb and Ryan quickly vowed that there will be an appeal, but as I have previously stated, I think that business considerations are going to play a big role in that decision. There are a number of Winston & Strawn laywers who are unhappy with the millions of dollars worth of free legal work that has gone into the case thus far. The prospect of millions more going into an appeal is not going to sit well with a lot of them.

4. I do think that it was very interesting that Webb based his comments about the appeal on the post-trial jury issues rather than anything that occurred during the trial proceedings themselves. Seems to be a rather flimsy hook to hang your hat on, but he's pretty damn good at what he does, so we'll see what shakes out.

5. Sentencing is scheduled for August 4th, and I believe that Ryan is going to be staring down at some real time. Among the considerations set forth in the federal sentencing guidelines are enhanced sentencing for violating the public trust. What that means is that Ryan could face a much bigger sentence than that faced by a private citizen.

6. I just got done doing a radio interview about who benefits from this verdict come November, Rod or Judy. My answer is that neither candidate is poised to seize the mantle of righteousness as the result of today's proceedings. Judy will be unavoidably linked to George and past Republican misdoings. Rod will be plastered with the allegations of pay to play that have dogged his entire tenure.

7. The upside of this mess? Maybe now there will be a sufficient impetus to pass HB4073, a Dan Hynes initiative which I introduced last year that would effectively end pay to play in Illinois. AllKids showed that legislation can move with blinding speed when there is the political will to do so, I would think that 22 guilty counts would give birth to that type of political will.

I'll post more later, but that gives you my thoughts as of now.

UPDATE - I was listening to the comments of the prosecutor, and thought they were the most fascinating moment yet. He said (a few different ways) that nothing makes them work harder than being lied to or finding out that documents were destroyed. These comments were delivered in such a way that they were not so much a reflection on the Ryan trial as they were a LOUD warning to anybody out there that is or may be the subject of a visit by the Feds. From the sound of the message, people better consider themselves warned.

8 Comments:

At April 17, 2006 at 2:44 PM, Anonymous Southern Fried Dem said...

Rep. Fritchey,

I appreciate your tact, but it is guy's like Ryan that perpetuated the shoddy image of Illinois politics. I guess I don't want to see anybody go to jail, but I just think he got what he deserved.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard somebody on the radio talking about how bad they felt for Ryan's wife. Wonder if they feel as bad for the Willis family?

 
At April 17, 2006 at 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us head to Chicago City Hall, that's were the real "Action" is at. Thank you Patrick Fitzgerald....Patrick McDonough

 
At April 17, 2006 at 3:23 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Who benefits?

If Meeks gets in the race then the Greens and Meeks benefit.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 3:39 PM, Blogger Pat Collins said...

I do think that it was very interesting that Webb based his comments about the appeal on the post-trial jury issues rather than anything that occurred during the trial proceedings themselves

You might wish to read opinions of the 7th circuit appeals court. In general, appeals almost ALWAYS pass due to such procedural issues.

Appeal courts usually don't rule on the things the jury considered.

Appeals on sentence lenght are very common, though. I think Ryan goes in the slammer during the appeal, though......

 
At April 17, 2006 at 3:52 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Pat,

With all due respect, I've read my share of appellate opinions. The point of my comment was that I found it interesting that there was no mention of the standard 'we believe the verdict was contrary to the evidence presented and controlling law", etc.

If they are going to hang this on the jury issues, it just seems kind of tenuous to me.

Pallmeyer is a very good judge, and I'm sure she looked at the precedents very closely before deciding as she did.

Not having seen the details about the jury issues, (which should be unsealed relatively soon), I don't know the details, but it will be interesting to see where the defense is going to go with this one. Just my guess - not far.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 5:10 PM, Blogger Pat Collins said...

ah, I see. Well, Webb had to say something. He couldn't say "we haven't got squat to appeal on".

 
At April 17, 2006 at 5:33 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Pat, that's kind of what I was getting at. You're just much more succinct :)

 

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