Court Should Deny DOJ & Scott Bloch Collusion to Avoid Accountability

As you will recall, Scott Bloch is the senior governmental attorney who formerly served as head of the United States Office of Special Counsel:

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Our basic authorities come from four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

In short, it is an unique, but quite important, entity in the federal government, and is entrusted with protecting the sanctity of whistleblowers, who are one of the last checks on an increasingly imperious federal government, and especially the Executive Branch thereof. Mr. Bloch refused to do his job appropriately under the Bush/Cheney Administration and, when members of his own staff, including attorneys, attempted to blow the whistle on Bloch, the man entrusted with protecting whistleblowers unconscionably retaliated against them and blatantly destroyed governmental property and statutorily protected electronic files evidencing his acts.

Once informed of the questionable, inappropriate and/or patently illegal acts by Bloch, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee instigated a formal Congressional investigation of Bloch. On March 4, 2008, in the course of formal interviews with Oversight Committee staff, Bloch withheld critical information and lied. (See Bloch’s signed Stipulation of Facts dated 4/27/2010). Bloch entered into a plea agreement with the government and has been awaiting sentencing by Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson of the District of Columbia District Court.

As Marcy Wheeler and I previously explained, the Obama Department of Justice is furiously colluding with the defendant they are supposed to be prosecuting, Scott Bloch, to ensure that he never does a day in jail for his crimes, and there appears to be no credible reason they are doing so:

The Department of Justice has literally teamed up with Scott Bloch-who previously plead guilty to blowing off Congress–to try to help him avoid any jail time, at any cost to credibility, for that crime. The extent of this collusion first became apparent in a ruling dated February 2, 2011 by Federal Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, who is handling the matter.

Now, there’s more than a chance that what is going on here is DOJ scrambling to prevent Bloch from doing jail time because they–part of the Executive Branch–like it that people like Alberto Gonzales, Monica Goodling and John Yoo have managed to avoid almost all Congressional oversight. And, now with Darrell Issa cranking up the not-so-way back investigatory machine, they really do not want a precedent made that executive branch officials who lie to Congress have to – gasp – actually serve jail time.

Then, the willingness of the government prosecutors to fight to keep the criminal Bloch from serving one lousy second in jail goes from the absurd to the ridiculous. A mere four days after having filed the whiny Motion to Reconsider, and before it was substantively ruled on, the government, by and through the ever ethical DOJ, suddenly files a pleading encaptioned “Governments Motion To Withdraw Its Motion To Reconsider The Court’s February 2, 2011 Memorandum Opinion“. In this pleading, the government suddenly, and literally, admits their February 2 Motion to Reconsider was without merit.

The foregoing is the background that brings us to where we are today, with a DOJ unconscionably, and with at least questionable ethics, literally fighting tooth and nail to help Scott Bloch get out of his pleas deal because he might actually have to serve 30 days in jail for his crimes. What, as the remainder of this article, and argument to the court, will delineate is that there is no merit to the attempted withdrawal and, incredibly, both Bloch and the DOJ entered into written covenants that they would not attempt to do so. For the reasons described below, Judge Robinson should deny Mr. Bloch’s motion to withdraw, and the craven DOJ joinder therein, and sentence Mr. Bloch pursuant to the plea and in accordance with her finding and inclination stated in her February 2, 2011 Memorandum Opinion.

I. The Mandatory Minimum Is In The Statute Itself

Defendant Bloch cites and argues Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCrP) Rule 11(b)(1)(I) for the proposition he should be allowed to withdraw from his plea because the court did not explain, and he did not understand, there was a minimum mandatory sentence of one month in jail.

This is a specious and meritless argument. The existence of the mandatory month in jail is not the creature of some arcane and separate sentencing provision or the result of the confusing federal sentencing guidelines or some other hard to grasp source. No, the requirement of one month incarceration is directly and specifically in the the statutory crime Mr. Bloch pled guilty to under 2 USC 192:

Every person who having been summoned as a witness by the authority of either House of Congress to give testimony or to produce papers upon any matter under inquiry before either House, or any joint committee established by a joint or concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, or any committee of either House of Congress, willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months. (emphasis added)

For Mr. Bloch to say he did not know of the mandatory incarceration provision, and that the court did not advise him, defies both clear logic and complete credibility. At the April 27, 2010 plea proceeding in front of the court, under oath and on the record, Defendant Bloch stated definitively and unequivocally that he knew, had read, been briefed by competent counsel and understood completely the charge he was pleading guilty to. Bloch, his attorney and the prosecuting AUSA in charge of the case for the DOJ, Mr. Glen Leon, avowed to the court there was no impairment and no reason whatsoever Bloch did not know what he was doing and could not knowingly enter into the plea. (See Plea Hearing Transcript, Exhibit 1 to Bloch Motion to Withdraw).

The following pertinent portions of the plea proceeding apply:

THE COURT: Do you understand the charge that is alleged in the Information?

THE DEFENDANT: I do, Your Honor.

…..

THE COURT: Has anyone promised you what sentence will actually be imposed?

THE DEFENDANT: No one has promised me that, Your Honor.

…..

THE COURT: Do you know that if the sentence is more severe than you now expect it will be, that you are still bound by your plea, and that you will not be permitted to withdraw your plea for that reason?

THE DEFENDANT: I understand that, Your

Honor.

THE COURT: Do you understand, sir, that parole in the federal system has been abolished, so that if you are sentenced to a period of incarceration, you will not be released early on parole?

THE DEFENDANT: I believe I do understand that, Your Honor. Yes.

THE COURT: Do you need more time to discuss any of the questions I just asked, or any of your own questions about sentencing, with your lawyers before we continue?

THE DEFENDANT: No, I do not, Your Honor

Defendant Bloch repeatedly, under oath, swore he understood the charge, knew the penalties associated with the charge, knew the final sentence was in the Court’s discretion and there was even discussion on the record about the potential for a sentence of incarceration and the temporary provision of pre sentence release. The plea agreement itself specified:

Your client agrees to plead guilty to a one-count Information, a copy of which is attached, which charges a misdemeanor violation of 2 U.S.C. 192 (Criminal Contempt of Congress).

The record is crystal clear. Mr. Bloch himself is an experienced attorney and had the assistance of extremely gifted retained counsel (not just one, but a battery of them). There was no ambiguity as to the offense Defendant Bloch was pleading guilty to. The minimum one month incarceration period is clear as day and directly specified in the elements and body of the criminal statute, 2 USC 192, Bloch pled guilty to.

Further, as the citation to United States v. Padilla, 23 F.3d 1220, 1222 (7th Cir. 1994) in Defendant Bloch’s own motion delineates, “The relevant inquiry must center upon what the defendant actually knows when he pleads guilty.” Well, in the instant case, Defendant Bloch swore under oath and penalty of perjury that he knew exactly the criminal provision he was pleading guilty to, and what he now disingenuously claims ignorance to is in that statute, in glaring black and white, for the world to see. Mr. Bloch’s sudden claim of ignorance is dishonest, in bad faith and does not constitute just cause for withdrawal.

Rule 11(d) specifies that once a plea has been accepted on the record by the court, which is the case here, withdrawal by a defendant can only occur where the court rejects the plea or where “a fair and just” basis is established. Neither circumstance applies in the case of Mr. Bloch.

II. It Was Not A “Probation Plea” and the Terms and Conditions Forbid Withdrawal

The nature and tenor of Defendant Bloch’s motion to withdraw effectively presents a defendant who entered into a probation only plea and is shocked, shocked that he may actually serve some minimal jail time. Yet the plea was not a “probation plea”, and the parties, court, Mr. Bloch, the plea agreement letter and the plea proceeding were all crystal clear that incarceration, within the contemplation of the statute and relevant guidelines, was quite possible, and that Bloch would not be permitted to withdraw if that was the case so long as the sentence was within guidelines.

The plea agreement letter provides in pertinent parts:

The parties further agree that a sentence within the Stipulated Guidelines Range would constitute a reasonable sentence in light of all the factors set forth in 18 USC 3553(a). In addition, neither party will seek a sentence outside of the Stipulated Guidelines Range or suggest that the Court consider a sentence outside the Stipulated Guidelines Range.

….

It is understood that the sentence to be imposed on your client is determined solely by the Court. It is understood that the Sentencing Guidelines are not binding on the Court. Your client acknowledges that your client’s entry of a guilty plea to the charged offense authorizes the sentencing Court to impose any sentence, up to and including the statutory maximum sentence, which may be greater than the applicable Guidelines range. The Government cannot, and does not, make any promise or representation as to what sentence your client will receive. Moreover, it is understood that your client will have no right to withdraw your client’s plea of guilty should the Court impose a sentence outside the Guidelines range. (emphasis added)

The net result of the above stipulation, made both in the plea agreement letter dated April 19, 2010, and confirmed and further established in the plea proceeding in open court on April 27, 2010, is that Defendant Bloch made a deal in which he

(a) agreed not to contest a guidelines sentence imposed by the Court,

(b) waived his right to withdraw his plea so long as the Court sentenced legally, and

(c) waived the non-admissability of his allocution under FRCrP Rule 11(f).

The plea document literally stipulated:

It is further agreed that any sentence within the Stipulated Guidelines Range is reasonable.

in conjunction with both parties waiving any appeal rights.

Defendant Bloch entered into a plea agreement, and stood before the court to confirm it, that gave him a sweetheart deal to a misdemeanor crime with liberal and favorable further stipulations that he would be classified under the lowest available sentencing guidelines for calculation and imposition of his sentence. He swore he would not seek to withdraw, and the Court instructed him there would be no such withdrawal permitted so long as he was treated within the parameters of his plea. The proposed sentence indicated by the Court in its February 2, 2011 Memorandum Opinion is more than within those constricts. Mr. Bloch’s plea does not permit the action he, and the collusive government, now seek.

Conclusion

The number and quality of felony crimes Bloch could have been, and should have been, charged with are staggering; including obstruction of justice, false statements, perjury, willful destruction of government property and Federal Records Act violations. But Defendant Bloch made a deal to plead to one little misdemeanor with the guarantee he would be considered under the most favorable sentencing guideline conditions imaginable. And, in return for this staggeringly kit gloved treatment, both Bloch and the government swore and promised not to withdraw or appeal. Yet, here they both are in front of this Court seeking to do just that. It is scandalous and should not be permitted by the Court. But there is much more to this case than just that.

It is the duty of the federal court system to provide fair and impartial justice to those before it and to stand as one of the three co-equal branches of government with a solemn duty to protect the sanctity of the government and see that justice is done not just for the powerful and privileged, but for all. For a misdemeanor plea case, there are powerful and critical factors involved in the instant case that warrant consideration by the Court. Central is the question of whether there is now, and will be in the future, meaningful accountability for Executive Branch officials as to the crimes they commit in office and in the peoples’ names.

As described at the start of this essay, our government and constitutional rule of law fails if Executive Branch officials can lie and destroy material evidence, not only to shield themselves from accountability, but to mask their efforts to deny legitimate governmental whistleblowers the light of day with which to inform and protect the public. It is truly that fundamental. And when you then compound the problem with fellow Executive Branch attorneys and officials colluding to minimize the crimes and frustrate even the minimum statutory punishment, the issue, and thus the case of Mr. Bloch, becomes of immense importance.

This Court, in its February 2, 2011 Memorandum Order, noted:

Thus Congress’s intent was to make the penalty for violating the statute punitive. See Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749, 755 (1962) (“In enacting the criminal statute . . . Congress invoked the aid of the federal judicial system in protecting itself against contumacious conduct.”) (quoting Watkins, 354 U.S. at 207). With respect to sentencing, the statute, as enacted in 1857, provided that “on conviction,” a person “shall” pay a fine and “suffer imprisonment in the common jail not less than one month nor more than twelve months.” Act of January 24, 1857, ch. 19, 11 Stat. 155 (emphasis supplied).

These words and opinion are exactly why this Court should deny Defendant Bloch’s motion to withdraw and sentence him as previously contemplated. It is literally the least he deserves. As the Court stated, the federal judiciary has a duty, in conjunction with Congress, to protect against contumacious conduct. This Court should fulfill that duty, stand for the people and rule of law, and send a message to Mr. Bloch and subsequent Executive Branch officials that there is a penalty for criminal behavior in obstruction and contempt of Congress, and that it will be enforced.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I can’t help but think he’ll get Scootered. Obama will do the paperwork to make the jail time go away. The DoJ is just trying to avoid Obama actually having to do so and answer for it.

    Boxturtle (And somebody needs to charge the entire DoJ with Obstruction Of Justice. At least)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I’m pretty sure that Holder’s job is to make sure the Bloch case never gets to where it needs direct intervention by Obama, via a commutation or pardon. If it did, Daley would have Holder’s hide instead of just something he can hang onto.

  2. PeasantParty says:

    Aargh! He is a lawyer, fer Gawrd’s Sake! I hope the judge slaps it to him and denies his pleading for removal of plea. Sheesh!

    Thus Congress’s intent was to make the penalty for violating the statute punitive. See Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749, 755 (1962) (“In enacting the criminal statute . . . Congress invoked the aid of the federal judicial system in protecting itself against contumacious conduct.”) (quoting Watkins, 354 U.S. at 207). With respect to sentencing, the statute, as enacted in 1857, provided that “on conviction,” a person “shall” pay a fine and “suffer imprisonment in the common jail not less than one month nor more than twelve months.” Act of January 24, 1857, ch. 19, 11 Stat. 155 (emphasis supplied).

    If I am reading/understanding this correctly he will have to serve in a common cell and not the Fed’s Country Club lockup. Hmm. It also looks like Holder would be subject to this as well if he pushes.

      • NMvoiceofreason says:

        PeasantParty is SO correct! Our country is lucky to have bmaz and EW. Without them, their detailed work and transcendent legal analysis written so all of us can understand the issues, we would not know what we did not know, much less the known unknowns.

  3. Peterr says:

    This seems like an incredibly brazen about-face by Bloch.

    “Gosh, your Honor, I know I *said* I pleaded guilty, and I know I *said* I accepted the consequences of that plea, and I know I *said* that I wouldn’t change my mind, but . . . now I’m changing my mind.”

    How does a judge not burst out laughing?

    As for the DOJ agreeing to and facilitating Bloch’s attempt to withdraw his plea, “about-face” doesn’t begin to cover it.

    “Gosh, your Honor, I know the government *said* it accepted this agreement, and I know the government *said* it was satisfied that justice would be served by it, and I know the government *said* it wouldn’t change its mind, but . . . now the government is changing its mind.”

    At this point, how does a judge not quit laughing and take both sides to the woodshed?

    • bmaz says:

      Absent a little public concern, it would actually normally be pretty easy when the freaking DOJ is squealing in conjunction with the defendant that it has to be done. That is why this is such an important point to get out and around.

    • NMvoiceofreason says:

      Bmaz documents it right here:

      there is no merit to the attempted withdrawal and, incredibly, both Bloch and the DOJ entered into written covenants that they would not attempt to do so.

      If I were the judge, I would put them both on the record to admit in open court that the word of the DOJ is worthless in person, worthless in a oath, worthless in a written agreement, and worthless to the court. Then I would sanction them to the limits of what was possible for their behavior.

      But with few exceptions, we already know this, so can we really sanction them for being contumacious miscreants wasting the court’s time on frauds upon the court?

    • bmaz says:

      That is the current setting for sentencing, but that sentencing date will only occur if the court DENIES the motion to withdraw. The defendant, Bloch, pursuant to a February 11 minute entry order of the court has through today to file his reply to the government’s response on the motion to withdraw plea. If the court grants the motion to withdraw, the March 10 sentencing date will be almost surely vacated.

  4. rkilowatt says:

    What do you expect?…Brought to us by the same insane creatures that expelled justice from the economic system.

  5. pajarito says:

    I was a whistle-blower during Bloch’s rein. Expecting no help from the office that is responsible for protecting federal whistle-blowers, I settled (my attorneys were great!).

    I lost my job, spent 1/2 my retirement, my wife left me….mortgage in question.

    I’d do it again. No wonder we have BP-Oil wiping out an entire ecosystem and economy it supported, Massey Mine Murders, and Obama’s war-on-Whistleblowers.

    And, it has gotten worse since Obama has taken office!

    • holeybuybull says:

      When you consider that AG Holder represented United Fruit and its para-military death squads that targeted unions and their leaders in Colombia, it’s really not very surprising.

  6. Mary says:

    Great piece – glad it is getting some stereo play.

    @13 – I’m sorry you had to go it alone. It’s been sad to watch Obama and Holder. Two guys who got a shot at great things in large part because of whistleblowers, then just viciously going after them in every mean spirited way possible. And with lawyers lining up to work for men like that. It’s flat out creepy.

    • pajarito says:

      Sadly. There is “law” for them and then the rest of us. Different rules. We are no different from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain…..

      Worse really, because few see the divide, numbed by corporate media distractions.

      The civil servants who went after me–all promoted, all in the agency still!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I had friends at State, the SEC, FCC, etc. Similar stories. Many of the good guys were corraled and ostracized, encouraged or forced to retire or simply prevented from doing any useful work, while political schmucks took their jobs and promotions. I haven’t heard that it’s any better under Obama. The light at the end of the long tunnel of the CheneyBush years that they saw approaching after November 2008 went out.

        • pajarito says:

          Yeah, experience throughout. Loyal Bushies (infiltrated over 8 years) were left in place by team Obama, looking “forward” no doubt.

          4 brave former staff who were where I was in similar capacity gave affidavits of similar or worse treatment. Appalling!

          • Cynthia Kouril says:

            There are 2 factors at play that make the outlook for justice and accountability pretty grim:

            1) the whole “look forward” concept which is creating this absurd situation where Bloch can’t serve any time or that will set a precedent that will cause the Geitner’s of this world to have a meltdown–though frankly I don’t see what value he brings to Obama, but that’s for a different comment thread.

            2) the “burrowers in”. If you read the Dick Cheney bio Angler, you may recall that Cheney salted virtually every federal agency with loyalists. they were placed at that perfect level, high enough to make on the ground decisions, low enough that the press, Congress and public would not recognize their names.

            I recall a story during the Katrina crisis of some people who wanted an inspector general system put in place for the emergency aid (so much of which was being spent with Hallibutorn subsidiaries), to avoid waste fraud and abuse. Senator Grassley got these folks an appointment with Mike Chertoff over at Homeland Security. Chertoff told them that such a decision would be made at a couple levels lower than him and sent them to see the relevant bureaucrat.

            That bureaucrat, turned out to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law. As you can expect the IG idea was DOA.

            Cheney’s people are not all gone.

            • SanderO says:

              The look forward approach negates and nullifies the notion of justice and accountability. Actions must be judged AFTER they take place by LOOKING back at them. If one is denied that “rear view” there is no way to evaluate the past actions, judge them according to laws and hold anyone accountable to laws.

              Why even bother to HAVE laws if they can’t be applied?

            • bobschacht says:

              2) the “burrowers in”. If you read the Dick Cheney bio Angler, you may recall that Cheney salted virtually every federal agency with loyalists. they were placed at that perfect level, high enough to make on the ground decisions, low enough that the press, Congress and public would not recognize their names.

              It would be helpful if we could see that Obama & Co. were, at least, aggressively trying to staff up the higher level of political appointments– but I see little effort in that direction. Besides aggressively staffing up at the senior levels, they should also be aggressively pushing promotion & evaluation policies designed to identify and isolate the moles and, where necessary, transfer them to basement offices in Pierre, SD with minimal responsibilities, while promoting new hires that show a real interest in the mission of the Department, and expanding their areas of responsibility. Is this happening anywhere?

              Bob in AZ

  7. quanto says:

    Defendant Bloch: But…But…But…Judge, I thought that was just a show trial for the common folk, I didn’t think you were serious, after all I am an important person, not like the riff-raff you normally see.

    Judge: Bailiff, whack his pee-pee. (Sorry a little Cheech and Chong slipped in)

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Hilarious that a lawyer, a lawyer for the federal government, a lawyer for the government’s vaunted Department of Justice, a lawyer for the DoJ unit responsible for protecting whistleblowers and other federal employees from the ravages of an overweening government, and a lawyer represented by informed and zealous counsel, argues that he ought not be bound by his explicit plea arrangement, reached after intensive consideration of the law and his options, because he did not understand the applicable law. Even if true – Bloch is no Brandeis – it should not amount to a valid defense.

    Imagine Mr. Bloch using that defense in a traffic court hearing: “Gosh, judge, I didn’t know I shouldn’t have been driving 65 in a school zone! I didn’t even know what speed I was driving; I was texting my office.”

    Or using it in defense of a suit for legal malpractice: “Look, guys, I didn’t read the statute of limitations; I didn’t know there was one. So what if I filed two years late and told my client, ‘No worries, mate. Plenty of time.’ You can’t hold me responsible.”

    Or in a hearing seeking to disbar him because of gross incompetence: “Honest, it never occurred to me I wasn’t supposed to spend my client’s money on that trip to Vegas. He said I could use it and didn’t have to account for a penny. I always do what my client tells me.”

    When you stop laughing, imagine what the judge ought to do who received Bloch’s request that he be allowed out of his plea bargain with kindly, benign Uncle Sam and his stalwart nephews at the DoJ.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nit: “Kid” gloves, as in treatment as soft as the skin of a baby goat, not “kit” gloves, as in first aid kit.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nicely written. A lot of work. Many thanks. I hope the judge or the judge’s clerk reads it, since most of what they will have to pour through will come from Bloch and his protectors at the DoJ. Constitutional lawyer president, ha.

  11. by foot says:

    I wonder what dirt Bloch’s got that would prompt this kind of effort from DOJ. Maybe we’ll find out if he goes to prison.

  12. bobschacht says:

    OK, I “spotlighted” this blog to
    Dan Abrams : Chief Legal Correspondent – NBC News; Anchor – MSNBC : NBC News
    Stan Goldman : Legal Affairs Editor : Fox News Channel
    Kelli Arena : Justice Department Correspondent : CNN News Group
    Maura Pierce : Judicial Producer : C-SPAN
    Eric Lichtblau : Justice Department Correspondent : New York Times
    Toni Locy : Justice Reporter : USA Today
    Judith Peres : Metro Reporter – Legal Affairs : Chicago Tribune
    Maura Dolan : Legal Affairs Writer : Los Angeles Times
    Curt Anderson : Justice Correspondent : Associated Press
    Jim Rubin : Legal Editor : Bloomberg News

    But there are lots more reporters out there who need to hear from us.

    Bob in AZ

    • bittersweet says:

      How about Al Jazzera English. I have recently found them to be interested in American politics, and miraculously uncontrolled by the American MOTUs.
      Plus, I think our government at least scans their pages.
      Appalling however, that we would have to rely on foreign journals to report honestly on American rule of law issues.

      • bobschacht says:

        Good point. However, I don’t recall seeing any Al Jazeera reporters on the Spotlight list of journalists. Perhaps Spotlight ought to be encouraged to list them.

        Bob in AZ

  13. Stephen says:

    If and when this smuck gets off, can we finally conclude we are f**ked and we won’t hear anymore declarations like, “nobody is above the law”?

  14. Bluetoe2 says:

    Haven’t we learned by now that the first rule of the plutocracy is whenever possible do no harm to fellow plutocrats? Accountability is a quaint notion reserved only for the “little people.”

  15. Knut says:

    2) the “burrowers in”. If you read the Dick Cheney bio Angler, you may recall that Cheney salted virtually every federal agency with loyalists. they were placed at that perfect level, high enough to make on the ground decisions, low enough that the press, Congress and public would not recognize their names.

    I think that this might be the critical element here and in other areas. Let’s not forget that it has also been difficult for Obama to get nominations for anything past the Senate, which means there are a lot of Rove-Cheney holdovers at DOJ, including the DA’s. Think about it. Both Obama and Holder have a huge amount of stuff on their plate. The real work is done at a lower level, and gets passed along, and unless someone in the chain signals the atrocity, it gets passed through. Now this case is pretty egregious, so it is hard to believe that Holder isn’t informed, but at a more general level, we can assume that the burrowing has worked pretty well.

    • bmaz says:

      That is simply NOT the case in the big cases you hear about, like this one. It is the White House, not “burrowers.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        This is a wonderful piece of work you’ve done,bmaz.A tip of the chapeau to you.

        Perhaps the next excuse for this egregious travesty will be ,well, it’s the “system”..a term I have heard more and more recently from the most unlikeliest of apologists.

        Some time ago I remarked that it felt as though the entire government was not only “burrowed “in,but hollowed out..it had become a hologram…yes,now we have merely an illusion of a DOJ

        • bonzo1958 says:

          I’m not sure illusion is the correct word. You can see an illusion, you cannot see justice happening with the rich and powerful.

          Not from where I’m sitting anyway.

      • Knut says:

        I’ll take your word for it. Disappointment in this administration is getting to be a way of life. I guess I never thought Obama believed in the Imperial Presidency. Guess I was wrong.

  16. bmaz says:

    It is not burrowers. That is a cop out and a false crutch for those that do no want to admit how protective and expansive of the same unfettered unitary executive branch Obama is. People tried to slough al-Haramain, Jeppesen and some other key cases off on “burrowers” too. It was a total crock of dung. Obama and his White House team, after conferring with Holder and DOJ made the specific decision to leave Hertz and Coppolino in charge and gave them carte blanche to go full bore against the people and constitution and in favor of unbridled Executive Branch power. The problem IS Obama.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I seems really tough for some people to put the blame for this on Obama.

      First it was Rahm’s fault, even though Rahm does exactly what Obama tells him to do. Now Rahm is gone, so they blame the burrowers. And Holder is the head on an independent agency, so it’s his doing if it’s not the burrowers.

      Boxturtle (Starting to think that Obama has found some leftover teflon of Ronnies)

  17. Kassandra says:

    Obama HAS to protect the last administration as he is doing the same things if not worse. All I have to do is look at the full press assault on Assange and Manning.

    Part of this, I think, is that if the Bush people were held to account for their crimes, it would expose them and the right wing wouldn’t have the ammunition against Obama that it thinks it has now.
    It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Obama agreed to take a fall for the PTB.
    If so, he not only fooled and sold out his base but helped the extreme right wing into the prominence they are enjoying today.

  18. Margaret says:

    Let me know when some Phylum Chordata run for office in the Democratic Party and I may vote for them again. Until then, it’s third party or write in for me.

  19. Synoia says:

    Defendant Bloch repeatedly, under oath, swore he understood the charge, knew the penalties associated with the charge, knew the final sentence was in the Court’s discretion and there was even discussion on the record about the potential for a sentence of incarceration and the temporary provision of pre sentence release.

    Two possibilities:
    1. He’s incompetent (in the medical sense)
    2. He lied again, he did understand, After all he has a record of telling lies.

  20. jaango says:

    Bmaz and Marcy have done a stellar job. And for that, I am appreciative of their overall efforts.

    Consequently, Obama is the problem and as indicated by Bmaz upstream in this thread.

    Now, I come at my politics from the standpoint of the Native American/Chicano Construct, and having access to all that is relevant and infomative, and made available to historians, will determine both “accountability” and as well as the current guise for the “rule of law” for our progeny. Otherwise, we will have to paint the tombstones black.

    And in 40 years or two generations, Diversity America will have become the majority in our America, and thusly, the voters of the future will have to address their “unmet needs” when it comes to the Department of Justice and the Oval Office, as they go to the ballot box. Furthermore, having the ability to “look back” at this historical Era of Squandered Opportunities, is “critical” to those of us here in the Sonoran Desert, despite Bloch being a temporary aberration to our body politic.

    Unfortunately, the White House Press Pool much prefers to become a “friend” to political parties, and cannot bring itself to get off its ass and do its job constructively.

    Jaango

  21. onitgoes says:

    Thank you for your exceptional work and for reporting on this travesty of “justice.” (using the word “justice” in this context is an oxymoron).

    I completely agree that this all about Obama, with Holder being complicit in his own lack of ethics. Yet the “burrowers” from the Cheney/W Admin cannot be discounted for their impact. But Obama has done nothing to deal with that, so yet again, we’re back to Obama being mostly responsible.

    None of this is surprising in the least anymore, more’s the pity. I would be far far more surprised to see Obama stand on the side of justice, ethics, fair play, etc. Clearly, Obama sold his soul a long long time ago and works solely for the Oligarchs. As has ever been the case anyway, there is one set of “laws” (or, these days more accurately, no law) for the obscenely wealthy & well connected, and the “rule of law” for the serfs.

  22. waynec says:

    “These words and opinion are exactly why this Court should deny Defendant Bloch’s motion to withdraw and sentence him as previously contemplated.”

    bmaz,

    If the withdrawl is allopwed does that mean h Bloch’s plea changes to “not guilty” and he will then be subject to a trial by jury? or trial by judges? or??

    • bmaz says:

      No, he will enter a different plea to something even lesser that will GUARANTEE he does not serve one second in jail. My understanding is that he and DOJ have already agreed to this, they are just waiting for the court to withdraw this plea.

  23. waynec says:

    pajarito @ 13,

    Thank you for standing up to the PTB eventhough it was at great cost to you.

    Thank you for fighting the good fight. I wish you well and hope things turn around for you.

    The cost of your action has hopefully made our country a better place to live.

    Your good deed did not go unpunished, but I know we all stand up and salute your action.

    Again, THANK YOU!

  24. waynec says:

    So doj will charge him with an even lesser crime?

    But that’s only if the judge agrees to Bloch’s withdrawl, right?

    Are you saying the three parties have agreed to this in advance?

    • bmaz says:

      The court has not agreed yet, that is why I wrote this post – I would like the court to strike a blow against this collusion against justice between the DOJ and executive branch criminals.

  25. jaango says:

    Bmaz,

    What can be done to prevent this collusion to occur, even if it takes the careers of both Holder and the Judge?

    Therefore, can Holder be impeached or not? Will it take the Congress to toss Holder out on his ear? And as to the Judge, will it take Congress to strip her of her title and place on the bench?

    Jaango

    • bmaz says:

      This is not the judge’s fault, so please do not blame her. This all boils down to an executive branch, and politicians and attendants who occupy it, that are concerned only about their own little fiefdom instead of doing justice and responsibility for the citizenry.

      As to this case, I had truly hoped to get others in the blogosphere and press that I know saw it (hell I sent it to some of them) to get on board and actually speak up where it could make a difference. And enough of a wave, which we know is capable of being generated when they want to, just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        By any chance have you seen the filing disbar Clarence Thomas?

        Over at FDL,Legal Schnauzer has a thread about it:

        Clarence Thomas Faces Call For His Disbarment
        By: RogerShuler Wednesday March 2, 2011 10:27 am

        The ending paragraph of the piece is worth noting,in light of the topic of this thread:

        POE makes a compelling argument that Clarence Thomas has no business sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court:

        A lawyer who commits a crime is subject to disbarment. A lawyer who fails to disclose important financial information as require by law is subject to disbarment. A lawyer who makes rulings on cases that will benefit himself and his wife is subject to disbarment. A Judge who commits 20 crimes by falsifying 20 disclosure forms in order to enrich himself and his family, as did Justice Thomas, is subject to disbarment. A lawyer who withholds information about a supporter when ruling on a case involving that support is subject to disbarment.

        Justice Thomas violated the Rules of Professional Conduct: he committed crimes that carry serious jail time if prosecuted, he acted in a untrustworthy manner, his conduct involved dishonesty, deceit and misrepresentation, and he engaged in conduct that seriously interfered with the administration of justice. Therefore, he must be disciplined

  26. JohnLopresti says:

    OT but something reminiscent of the prefigured Bloch outcome, re: Kyle Sampson December 2010 surreptitious reinstatement to DC bar, public notification February 2011.