Scott Bloch Headed To Prison

[UPDATE: Bloch was sentenced to one month prison, one year probation and 200 hours of community service. His attorney indicated they will appeal, which could be interesting since the plea appears to, on its face, disallow appeal. And the saga of Scott the Blochhead rambles on…..]

Since mid-February an important, but little noticed, criminal case has been playing out in DC District court in which former Bush/Cheney administration Special Counsel Scott Bloch is charged with criminal contempt of Congress pursuant to 2 USC 192. As I summarized in an earlier post:

As you will recall, former former Bush/Cheney Administration Special Counsel Scott Bloch destroyed evidence by wiping government computers clean, lied to Congress about it and conspired with the DOJ to minimize the conduct and slough it off with a sweetheart plea deal. Then, outrageously, when the court indicated it was inclined to impose the mandatory minimum month in jail, which was mandated by the statute Bloch pled guilty to, Bloch and the DOJ conspired to get the plea, which had already been accepted and entered by the court, withdrawn.

When Bloch and DOJ both worked together to get the plea withdrawn, and frustrate justice, the egregious nature of the attempt was documented here in a fully argued and supported post published on Tuesday March 1, 2011. Subsequent to that post, the court also found questions with the attempt to withdraw the plea and ordered Bloch to file a reply supporting the attempt.

At the previous date set for sentencing, on March 14, the court gave Bloch one last shot to brief his way out of the hole he dug for himself and ordered a tight briefing schedule therefore. Bloch filed his Motion for Reconsideration on March 14, The government filed their response, again colluding with Bloch, on March 17, and Bloch filed his reply on March 23.

Late yesterday afternoon, Judge Deborah Robinson ruled on Bloch’s latest attempt to get out of the mandatory incarceration sentence he pled guilty to, and entered her order denying his motion. The court fairly well blasted Bloch’s whining attempt to withdraw and, by extension, the continued craven collusion by the government in said attempt.

First the court gutted the claimed ability of Bloch to have a motion for reconsideration entertained on the merits at all:

In sum, while judges of this court have, on occasion, entertained motions for reconsideration of interlocutory orders in criminal cases, no Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, or Local Criminal Rule of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, provides for such motions. The undersigned finds that although the pending motion is styled a “Motion to Reconsider[,]” it is effectively an effort “[to] rehash[] previously rejected arguments” regarding both the finding that the offense to which Defendant pled guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence, and the order denying Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Undoubtedly Judge Robinson, recognizing the significance of Bloch’s case to both the Executive Branch and Congress, not to mention the defendant himself, wanted to give Bloch every opportunity to make his record. But when decision day came, she followed the law and properly noted the procedural disfavor of such motions as Bloch was proffering. It was smart of Robinson, however, to let Bloch play out the string before so ruling.

And then the court got to the factual merits of Bloch’s argument. To say that the court found no merit in this regard is somewhat of an understatement:

The court finds that Defendant has failed to show that the court “made an error in failing to consider controlling decisions or data[.]” Defendant blithely proclaims that the court “fail[ed] to discuss in its Memorandum Opinion – or even mention – the only two prosecutions in the past twenty years which proceeded under 2 U.S.C. § 192: United States v. Miguel O. Tejada, Cr. 09- mj-077-01, and United States v. Elliot Abrams, Cr.-91-575 (AER)[]” (see Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration at 4). However, Defendant’s proclamation is belied by the record: the court has, in fact, considered both of those prosecutions


The court finds that Defendant’s claim that “the Plea Agreement contemplated eligibility for probation” (Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration at 4) is equally specious. No such provision is included in the plea agreement; moreover, Defendant “acknowledge[d] that [his] 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.”


Finally, the proffer of the advice of counsel, offered, for the first time, through the affidavit of one of the lawyers who represented Defendant (see Affidavit of Ryan R. Sparacino, Esq. (“Sparacino Affidavit”) (Document No. 49-1)), is of no moment.


To the extent which the affidavit of counsel has probative value at all in this context, it is that it serves to highlight the court’s finding that Defendant was aware that the offense to which he pled guilty was one for which a mandatory minimum sentence was provided.


Counsel’s advice that the court was not likely to impose the mandatory minimum sentence simply because two other judges apparently had not done so is not

germane to any issue now before the court.

Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. And that mark should be on the DOJ and its assigned attorney in this case, Glenn Leon, as well. It was nothing short of a craven attempt by the Obama DOJ to collude with a defendant to escape punishment because the administration does not want to have a precedent that – gasp – Executive Branch officials that lie to and are otherwise in contempt of Congress could be sent to prison. Good bet Mr. Tim Geithner is paying close attention to this ruling.

At any rate, Scott Bloch will be sentenced by Judge Robinson on his guilty plea conviction today at 4:00 pm EDT. Bloch will be sentenced to at least one month of prison. He should be sentenced to the full six months that are the upper end of the sentencing guidelines range for his plea, but it is unlikely, under the circumstances, the court will impose more than the mandatory one month.

  1. allan says:

    Executive Branch officials that lie to and are otherwise in contempt of Congress could be sent to prison.

    But, under the Wisconsin Doctrine, who says that the Bureau of Prisons has to comply with the judge’s order?

    O.T.: PigMissile incoming to Random House.

  2. Frank33 says:

    The President will pardon Bloch, because the President is the neo-con poodle. It will be a sign of good faith and outreach to the Republicans. We need still more bipartisan repression.

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    I still think he’ll be Scootered before he sees the inside of a jail cell. But at least Obama won’t be ableto keep his hands clean.

    Boxturtle (Unless he transfers power to Biden and makes him do it)

  4. rosalind says:

    is he gonna get time to flee the country put his affairs in order, or does he get hauled away then and there? and is this a real 30-days, or a Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan “30-days”?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It would be nice to see Judge Robinson split the difference between the maximum and minimum amount provided for under the guidelines; his plea agreement got him out from under much more serious crimes and a potentially much longer jail sentence. His plea deal was more about protecting the government’s pattern of wrongdoing inside the DoJ and the White House than about eliciting a confession from a single criminal.

      As much as she might think Bloch’s acts warrant more time, she will probably avoid giving him a longer sentence so as to give the defense and the DoJ less scope to argue on appeal that she was imposing some kind of retribution. As if an administration that goes after whistleblowers with a vengeance wouldn’t know real retribution when it saw it.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Obama is so afraid of admitting what he wants or of engaging in battle [with his opponents, he likes battling his base] to get it, he is unlikely to pardon or commute Bloch’s sentence, especially if it’s only one month.

    Plus, Bloch won’t have to sleep in a velcroed moving blanket, go without sleep or stand naked for inspection. He might have a roommate that’s very chummy, though, which might later make Mr. Bloch an advocate for prison reform.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Only metaphorically, I’m afraid. Geithner will be a vice-chair of some Wall Street investment bank soon enough. The sooner the better. But Wall Street’s stranglehold on government economic and industrial policy won’t be loosened simply by letting one player walk through the revolving door.

  6. Jim says:

    What’s this? The Obama legal system clearly mandates ‘looking forward, not back.’ How dare they. At least Barry dismissed the case against Alberto Gonzales. Looking back is nothing but trouble.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The DoJ and White House must be having the heebie-jeebies over this. Bloch, unlike the verbally constipated Lewis Libby, is known for having loose lips, but not the kind that would make him popular in prison.

    • Tom in AZ says:

      The entire Bush administration was scared to death that Libby’s wife (a Democrat if I recall) would go ballistic and talk out of school if poor Scooter spent as much as 1 minute in jail. If Scooter actually told his wife the truth about his job. Which I doubt. But if so, and if Bloch told his wife the truth it may be embarrassing or criminally incriminating if they do talk.

      Better question is if they do know, why are they staying married to these assholes? Other than the ghost of Martha Mitchell.

  8. jaango says:

    I think the Obama administration, acting to protect one of its own, and in this instance, a Republican DOJ employee, would be seen among all the political operatives in the Obama administration, a direct slap in the face to their continued employment, and to their overt effort at resume-building. given today’s systemic of a revolving door between government and the private sector. As such, “the man” is protecting itself from both the riff raff and hoi polloi.

    Therefore, Bloch can be thankful I am not the federal judge making the decision. In short, Blockhead would become another of America’s elevated and “reconstituted Exemplars”.


  9. fwdpost says:

    One month sentence! Is his last name Lohan? Why isn’t he held with Manning in Quantico? Oh, I forgot. Bloch isn’t one of the “lesser people.” He is the grandson of abstract expressionist Albert Bloch, and his father is a tv writer.

        • eCAHNomics says:


          Google Club Fed prisons. They have minimal confinement properties and are reserved for white collars criminals.

        • bmaz says:

          I do not need to “Google” I have been to them. Trust me, they are still very much prisons. Period. Yes, their “confinement properties” are lower; they should be since the prisoners there are not violent and not particularly escape risks. This saves the government one hell of a lot of money, because the higher the security, the cost of running it grows geometrically and wildly. I have a hint for you; there always has been segregated detention classification, and there always will be, because it is appropriate and financially efficient.

        • mzchief says:

          What do you think about the Norwegian system? From what little I’ve seen the prisoners starts out in a stricter confinement situation then graduate to successive ones until they are in a final facility from which they can easily transition back to society and contribute as well-adjusted members. Al Jazeera did a piece about the last stage (“Norway’s eco prison – Mar. 25, 2008). I don’t know enough about this but I would like to know a whole lot more. If I were the meticulous researcher then I would insist on site visits to verify the conclusions and proofs in addition to ethical study designs to see how people do who are back in society.

        • bmaz says:

          I think there is something positive in that for a lot of the prison population (obviously, not for some). I think some state systems still do that a bit, but not much because it would usually involve transporting between distant facilities, and secure transportation is expensive.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Any result from the sentencing hearing that should have started about 1 1/2 hours ago?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Thanks. I don’t speak Tweet.

          It would be appropriate, based on this conviction and the record of Bloch’s misconduct, if his bar licensing authorities reviewed whether to suspend or disbar him.

      • BeachPopulist says:

        Please remember that prison rape is never a joke, no matter how little you might like the person being incarcerated.

        I disagree. If you get a real sentence, say 2-5 years, yes, you’re right. But when you get what amounts to a less-than-chicenshit one whole month, then justice at the bar was not served so another kind of justice has to take over.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          I would advise you not to make comments like that here again. Ever.

          That sounds like a threat. Probably is. From someone who is a lawyer and therefore tied to the ultimate belief that the legal system is the be all and end all of justice, the only method that matters, indeed that should be countenanced. That lawyers and judges are the salvation of society, and if anyone tries to disagree you’ll take away the ball and ban them. Just like Rutty got banned for having the temerity to suggest that certain people needed to examine their morality in view of their support for Obama and the Dems.

          Lemme ask you (Although I doubt you’ll answer, and suspect that this post will disapper along with my privileges at FDL): Do you think one month was a fitting sentence? That it was proper punishment relative to the severity of the crime? That it is sufficient to deter others from committing similar offenses with impunity in the future?

          And no scurrilous lawyerese dithering, either, just a straight yes or no to each question. No, “well, the justice systme is not always perfect, and the judge has to have some latitude in sentencing, and it’s better than no jail time at all, blah-blah-blah.” In other words, straight value system rather than lawyer “hired gun I’ll back whatever position pays me the most” talk.

          How about it, Bmaz. Got the guts to engage, or just gonna turn tail and ban me?

        • Tom in AZ says:

          I’ll engage you. Seems we should just skip this whole legal process and get to the outcome you like, huh? Nobody is happy about this chickenshit one month. But it is a big deal on the beltway if he actually has to do the time. I personally would like to see a bunch of these assholes lashed, but it is not going to happen.

          But prison is prison, even for a month. The door slams and that is it. You can’t do anything for the people you love, or to the people you don’t. You can’t do anything unless they allow it.

          And as someone who as actually been there and for more than a month, I can tell you that what you hope to happen to him should not happen to anyone. If you think that is about justice in prison you are just full of shit. It is about the strong exploiting the weak. And if there is no one around that fits your definition of needing ‘more justice’, then just anyone weaker will do.

          And there are enough pricks like you working FOR the prison system that a blind eye is turned many times. So fuck off. You get sentenced to prison TIME, not prison rape, beatings and all the other shit that goes down in there.

          A month is not enough, but what you seek is too much. I saw too much of it for a much longer time. But you learn to do only YOUR time, not someone else’s. You learn to shut yourself down, get up in the morning with the goal of trying to make the day go as quickly as possible. To be on guard and aware of your surroundings. And hope that when you finally get out of there, you can bring back the part of your soul you have suppressed for so long.

          You don’t need to be banned, you need to be ignored. You might want to be careful talking all that shit in public, you might mouth off to someone who had to put up with shit for a long time, and do not have to hear it from a wannabe like. you.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          If you think that is about justice in prison you are just full of shit. It is about the strong exploiting the weak.

          And that is exactly what Block was doing on the outside: the strong — those in positions of official power — exploiting the weak. If government is acknowledged to be (potentially and/or actually) all-powerful, then by definition those outside of government have to be the weak, the powerless or near powerless.

          So go back and engage on the subject of whether this puny punishment is sufficient to discourage future wrong doing. And while you’re formulating your answer, ask yourself: how much really bad shit was on those tapes that we’ll never know about or be able to prove since Bloch erased them? Don’t just think about his sentence in relation to the crime he committed, but in relation to the possible (probable) much more severe crimes that he hid from view — forever.

          Sadly, there are only two options here: either the legal system has to function within certain parameters of fairness and equal treatment for criminals of all types and from all stations in life — or — we have to have non-judicial, ad-hoc, “frontier” justice of some sort with which to threaten would-be criminals in high places. They have to fear something.

          And I disagree with your contention that in the District of Corruption a month in jail is seen as a big deal. I think everybody thinks that the idea of sending a plutocrat, an insider, to jail for any length of time is an affront to the proper order of the universe. I think Bloch will be seen — is being seen — as a terrible martyr. Yet conversely, I think that his sentence is seen as an aberration, a mistake of getting the wrong judge, rather than as a cautionary tale about giving a big “fuck you” to the legislative and judicial branches.

        • bmaz says:

          Alright. Nobody here owes you diddly shit. Quit demanding people “engage” you; that is their choice, and on their terms, not yours. Secondly, tone it down a bit, and never suggest rape as an affirmative good thing. The one thing you have gotten correct so far is that I have no compunction about bouncing you permanently. None. This is the second warning. You look like that if you cared to, you could actually contribute meaningfully. Please do so, because the third strike makes an out. I sincerely hope, however, that such is not necessary.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Why, BP, it is shocking that there is ANY jail time, at all, for such a one as Bloch. It is virtually unheard of. And, considering the gyrations of SCOTUS, recently, ANY federal judge who has the backbone to met out ANY justice, even with a very small “j”, is one part of a very thin line, a slender thread, that keeps even more outrage in check, if only for a short time …

          The rule of law is in the balance, and Obama Inc. just took a shot across the bow … perhaps it is but a sling-shot, but it is a CLEAR message that SOME of the justices on the federal courts have seen enough of certain “patterns” to have drawn some serious conclusions … and THEY happen to be in a position to have some weight attached to their decisions.

          Think what you will, however there are, no doubt, some “great leaders” on the Executive and Congressional twigs who might be a wee bit shaken, taken aback, maybe even … a trifle nervous.

          As EOH reminds, your justifiable outrage would be better directed towards Obama and his DOJ, for they will certainly double-down … and SCOTUS will not, likely, gainsay them when push doth come to shove.

          BP, more citizens are aware every day, still… it is not yet enough.

          More time, painful as that will be, is necessary, and rational wisdom suggests a bit of circumspection in such circumstance … as well as appreciation for them what get it.


        • Tom in AZ says:


          Look man, we all agree the sentence is not enough. If you want ‘frontier justice’ then by all means try administering it on the frontier, in public. Don’t rely on deviant sociopaths to do your work. Knock YOURSELF out if you feel so strongly. Shame him, humiliate him in public daily, fight for his disbarment, post his crimes on every light pole in his neighborhood. Confront him on the street. Have at it. He should not skate.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          If you want ‘frontier justice’ then by all means try administering it on the frontier, in public…Knock YOURSELF out if you feel so strongly. Shame him, humiliate him in public daily, fight for his disbarment, post his crimes on every light pole in his neighborhood. Confront him on the street. Have at it. He should not skate.

          Hey, if I lived near DC I would do just that. I would hound that scumbag 24/7. But unfortunately, I’m just a retired guy with a modest income who lives on the far opposite coast.

        • NMvoiceofreason says:

          Sorry to hear you had to do hard time. Hope things are better now.

          I agree with your general sentiments.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          If you’d like to comment in a public forum, manners are appropriate. Bad hair days are best spent indoors or in the surf. Bad manners with frequent surfers, however, as with some employees of the Justice Department, are likely to be responded to without the use of words.

          I believe our host and many others here have long been on record as saying that Mr. Bloch’s plea deal was a travesty and that the government connived in foisting it on a reluctant court for its own political reasons. No one here is defending either of those legal or political choices.

          Thankfully, the court wasn’t going to further that injustice by letting a fully informed lawyer-defendant out of the plea deal he explicitly and publicly entered into because he found a 1-6 month prison term suddenly inconvenient.

          Your righteous anger is more appropriately directed at Mr. Obama’s Justice Department, which concocted a deal that, based on the evidence, wasn’t remotely required to get a conviction, but which was apparently helpful to it for other reasons.

        • scribe says:

          Concur wholeheartedly with you, BMAz.

          Unless and until the commenters screaming for the carceral torture, rape or whatever of the criminal Bloch are equally willing to have that treatment (continue) for Manning or people like him, they need to STFU on their blood-lust and consider for a moment just what effecting that would yield.

          I’ve seen any number of posts – here and elsewhere – by or about the survivors of sexualized violence and how it has ruined their lives. And, on this site at least, the victims get all sorts of solicitude (as they should). To advocate for such victimization, no matter how odious the crime or the criminal, is sick. It’s also the same sentiment that set us on the road to the regularized, institutionalized torture and war crimes which mark ‘murca’s war on terra.

          And, as to those screaming about how cushy the Club Fed is, they’re simply full of shit. At its best, a prison is akin to your junior high school, run by the bullies with the connivance and gleeful acquiescence of the assistant principal. Only it’s a place you cannot leave, and where being weak around the bullies or, worse, complaining to the administration gets you seriously worse treatment.

          It’s also a place where the noise – loud, irritating, painful noise – never stops. Ever. If there’s a sudden silent moment in the middle of the night, someone will start screaming just to fill the emptiness. And there is no privacy. Period. For anything. You take a shit in plain view of everyone. If you’re going to jerk off, it’s in plain view.

          I’ve counseled, represented and tried cases on behalf of both criminals and jailers. I can tell you one thing about conditions of confinement cases: what jailers can get away with without a judge even blinking an eye would – or should – appall anyone. In my practice I’ve read cases where ice inches thick on the interior walls of (basically unheated) prison cells in northern Wisconsin’s winter while prisoners had one thin blanket and one set of summer-weight clothes was quite satisfactory to the appellate judges. IIRC, the majority opinion said something like “prison is supposed to be punishment”. Cases where toilets backed up ankle deep – not a problem. You name the degrading, inhuman condition and it has passed judicial muster in American prisons. I think the only thing which hasn’t passed muster lately is using a bullwhip on prisoners, but that may only be for a lack of trying.

          Prison is a devastating experience for the ordinary person. It’s a sad commentary that among most of the poorer classes, going there is like going to visit relatives in a distant state or going off to college – an unremarkable event that happens to everyone sooner or later. Would that it happened to more of the rich and powerful – they and their families would be a lot less inclined to reach for the jail keys to solve problems.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          You inadvertently hit on exactly why a little prison justice would be appropriate for Bloch. By that I mean your reference to Bradley Manning. He’s not even been tried, much less convicted, and certainly — unlike Bloch — didn’t plead guilty. Yet Manning has already spent eight times as long in confinement — under humiliating, inhumane, degrading, torturous conditions — as Bloch will spend in some fucking federal country club prison for lying to Congress.

          If we can’t force officials, through fear of lengthy incarceration, not to lie to our elected officials, then why the fuck bother with government at all? As long as the government never has to tell us or our reps the truth, what the fuck purpose does Congress, or elections, serve? None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          Further followup Mr. Lawyer-man: Do you think that Bloch is actually going to serve time in a prison with the conditions you describe? That he’s going to be in a general population with murderers, drug dealers, rapists, gangbangers?

          My bet: No Fucking Way. He’s gonna be in place with minimum security, housed in a comfortable cell with a cellie who’s in for tax evasion or fraud or hanging paper. Hell, with only a thirty-day sentence, Bloch won’t get moved from tne initial intake center. He’s gonna be on cushy street, working in the library or trimming flowers in the garden. You think otherwise?

    • nonpartisanliberal says:

      He’ll go to a minimum security prison, so the potential for being raped is almost zero. I know a couple of prison guards from my martial arts classes and the frequency of prison rape is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the public.

  10. trademarkdave says:

    Gee, I wonder what Bloch would get if he were a black or hispanic guy grabbed by the cops while flushing nickel bags down a toilet…

  11. tejanarusa says:

    Six months! Six months!

    yeah, I know, probably not. Grasping at straws for something to cheer about. Even one month for Scott (jeez, yet another Scott?) gives me a lovely shiver of schadenfreude.

  12. mzchief says:

    bmaz @ 25 and eCAHNomics @ 26:

    So “material evidence” of a two-tiered, if not three-tiered, justice system all the way down to the facilities level. Also, bmaz, from your response, there is the hint that there are officers of the court who do not know what is going on in the prison system. How is that possible? To me that’s like a physician that has never seen a human body or a materials engineer who’s never seen, touched and worked steel.

    • JClausen says:

      Upon reflection my remark was flip and inappropriate.

      No one should ever be held under those conditions.

      My humble apologies to the community.

  13. stevo67 says:

    Rule of law… such a quaint idea that it only applies to us instead of the rich or well-connected.

    Unless you’re a complete idiot who flubs his filings and manages to piss the judges off.

  14. kabuki101 says:

    He won’t go to prison. The EFB (see my earlier posts) will come to his rescue. This is a member of the plutocracy, albeit a minor one, just doing his job for them. Serfs will no be allowed to hold him to account according to laws written for them. Plutocrats do not answer to those laws. They are exclusively for the serfs. Got that?

  15. onitgoes says:

    Different rules/laws apply to different levels of society. Six months seems too little to me, and one month is like a slap in the face.

    I guess we’ll have to take what happens with a big old bag of salt.

    And how much media attention will this get?? Guess Obama’s doubly glad for Libya: takes the heat offa this AND the sh*tty economy. Yay: a TWOFER.

  16. Jo Fish says:

    How many days until Block is (re)acquainted with his lord and savior? No, really…

    Wanna bet Chuck Colson is already on the list to visit him on his first visitation day?

    • rosalind says:

      Jo Fish Asks: “How many days until Block is (re)acquainted with his lord and savior?”

      Scott Bloch Answers:

      Before the sentence came down, Bloch addressed the court, thanked the court and his family, and said he looked forward to being able to “do some good” for the community.

      “I believe that good will come out of this and I believe it already has,” Bloch said as his stood before the judge. “I thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

      via TPMMuckraker

      • bmaz says:

        Praise the lord and pass the soap on a rope baybee!

        By the way, and this is true, I used to tell clients on their way to the big house when they asked if I had any advice, “Sleep on your back with your mouth closed”.

  17. mzchief says:

    We are openly called a bunch of “cultural fascists” inside and outside of this country. Each one of us gets to wear that tag with any acquiescing attitudes to truck with the corrupt status quo telegraphed with statements as “Oh, it won’t happen. *sigh*”

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Bloch in prison should be treated the way we advocate that Mr. Manning should be treated, not as he is treated in Quantico, and not as too many prisoners are treated in America’s public, private and secret prisons.

    Mr. Bloch was remarkably uninterested in the plight of government whistleblowers and others abused by improper or illegal government excess. He seems unlikely to change his spots, but it would be right and proper for him not to be rewarded for abusing the powers of his office, and to discourage others from doing so.

    That latter purpose may be a motivation for Mr. Obama’s vengeful streak in prosecuting whistleblowers rather than in those on whom they blow the whistle. The distinction is obvious: punishing Mr. Bloch would promote better and more open government, Mr. Obama’s campaign against whistleblowers does the opposite; it protects undo secrecy and the evils it hides and enables.

    The supreme irony here is that Mr. Bloch is going to prison because he failed to do his job, which was to protect whistleblowers and others from improper or illegal government action. Mr. Obama acts as if the first thing he’ll do when Bloch has served his prison term will be to hire him and put him in his old job.

  19. BeachPopulist says:

    Bmaz —

    If the formal justice system does not hand out punishments that are sufficient to deter the plutocrats from usurping and destroying what is left of our democracy, then what is the solution? What is your solution for a method that creates an equation whereby the plutocrats and their enablers have to balance criminal actions against potential punishment? How do you propose to create a sufficient risk-reward/penalty formula that keeps others from lying to Congress, ignoring laws and — hey! judidicial decrees!? In other words, defying, ignoring, and ultimately destroying the concept of “rule of law”?

    Gimme your solution. Seriously, I want to hear a path of action, a strategy. You don’t like street justice, and the established system doesn’t work, so you come up with an alternative.

  20. JTMinIA says:

    Oh, crud.

    I wanted to suggest that, even though 21st-century progressives seem to live for disappointment, we should probably not be counting our one-month chicken when all have is a one-month egg.

    But then you all have to go and ruin it with your serious idiocy (that’s you Peachy) and then serious replies to said serious idiocy (that’s the rest of you).

    I hate you all.

  21. nonpartisanliberal says:

    Obama is a crook. His refusal to apply the law to government officials shows that he expects the same professional courtesy. The only people he pursues with a vengeance are those low-level people who expose crimes.

  22. JTMinIA says:

    Take a deep breath. Realize that what got you in trouble was suggesting that someone – anyone – should ever be raped. Maybe even apologize for the outburst which many of us can understand and would, therefore, probably forgive. Then move on.

    But don’t pretend that the argument here is about whether the sentence is sufficient. We’re a tad too bright to fall for this.

  23. Tina O says:

    NO, I’M NOT IN FAVOR OF THE HAIRY CIRCUMSTANCE OF CRIMINAL DETENTION BEING THE PUNISHMENT EVER! But hey there Bmaz, I read you regularly and I think the guy’s 2nd paragrsph needs answered.

    “Do you think one month was a fitting sentence? That it was proper punishment relative to the severity of the crime? That it is sufficient to deter others from committing similar offenses with impunity in the future?”

    • bmaz says:

      Listen, go read all the posts I have done on this case before you yell at me in CAPITAL LETTERS. And that question has already been answered several times in this thread by people. And, in case you still cannot figure out the blindingly obvious answer, no a month is not sufficient for what Bloch did. At this point, I will take it though because not very long ago I am pretty sure even that was in serious question.

      Or, you know, you and the quite noisy BeachPopulist, who you felt the need to pipe up in support of could simply have bothered to read the last sentence of THIS post before making your noisy rants:

      He should be sentenced to the full six months that are the upper end of the sentencing guidelines range for his plea, but it is unlikely, under the circumstances, the court will impose more than the mandatory one month.

    • NMvoiceofreason says:

      “Do you think one month was a fitting sentence? That it was proper punishment relative to the severity of the crime? That it is sufficient to deter others from committing similar offenses with impunity in the future?”

      There are several issues here. Was the sentence the correct one? Given the crime (lying to Congress) and the potential range (1 month to 12 months), the sentence was light. Bloch deserved far more. The DOJ and his lawyers had colluded for an illegal sentence of 0 months. The only sentence that closed off their ability to argue for the illegal sentence was one within the guidelines range of 0-6 months. The judge had the authority to order more. But she is a very smart judge, and the closing off of the effective ability to appeal the sentence is just as important. A ten million month sentence, while being what Mr. Bloch might have deserved, would have violated the spirit of Mr.Bloch’s plea and perhaps have left him serving no time AT ALL. Better a one month loaf than none.

      Was it proper for his crime? Which crimes, the destruction of whistleblowers cases, obstruction of justice in hundreds of cases, denial of civil rights and workplace discrimination? Or lying to Congress, the “Get probation, keep your law license” charge that the DOJ handed him on a silver platter? The judge could only sentence him on what he pled guilty to, even though for sentencing, she could look at the uncharged conduct. But then we go back to point #1, do you want the sentence he should serve, or the sentence he will actually end up serving. Because no appeals court is going to let Mr. Bloch out of this sentence.

      Third, the problem with impunity is not the sentence, but the impunity. As long as DOJ can produce sweetheart deals for its own criminals, there will be impunity. We can knock that back a bit with diligent monitoring, sentencing recommendations (see BMAZ via link @18), and nailing their feet to the floor.

      Realize that advocacy for prison rape applies just as well to yourself, your wife, your daughter, your mother, your son. The first rule of the war on terror is to not become the terrorists ourselves. We believe these truths to be self evident. We believe that all people deserve to be treated humanely, even those who have not done so with others. When the walls of secrecy are breached – and they will be – the torturers will pay their price. Let’s just make sure that when they pay that price, it doesn’t strip us of our own humanity.

      • bmaz says:

        Right; and well said. The one thing I will add, since maybe not everybody is up to speed on our coverage of this case, it may not be totally satisfactory as to Bloch, but the marker that Executive Branch officials can actually go to prison for contempt and false statements to Congress is very important. And the case has been pretty valuable as to stripping bare the shameless self serving collusion by the DOJ in this area too. It is but one tiny step, but if Bloch really has to serve this out and we have the record on the DOJ for all to see and to lob against them in the future, then it will be a net positive result. I will take it, even though I would have liked more.

        • BeachPopulist says:

          Bmaz – Returning here late — had a long dinner with friends in town. Where we seem to disagree is in arguing that this puny sentence has ANY deterent effects on future behavior. I argue that it does not, and will not. Why? Because as DW Bartoo notes @68, any jail time whatever is virtually unheard of. And you yourself admit it is a “tiny step”. I would translate tiny as “miniscule, insignifiant, inconsequential”. Thus, this will be considered an aberration, an anomaly, and not as an admonition or a cautionary tale.

          But let’s shift the focus: what if it is considered an acceptable penalty? What if the prevailing opinion among the plutocrats becomes, “Eh, a month in the slammer is a small price to pay, compared to the MANY, MANY millions I’ll make from other grateful plutocrats when I cruise into private practice after I get out.” And we do agree that Bloch is going to be rewarded with multiple millions by the oligarchy, right? We can agree on that? I mean, wasn’t that the purpose of letting him keep his law license, so he can be compensated at the rate of many thousands of dollars for every hour, indeed every minute, he had to endure in such horrendous conditions at Club Fed? I mean, not being able to come and go as he pleases, having to wear that dreadful inmate uniform, oh! The horror!)

          So, what if, as I just postulated, this sentence comes to be viewed as an occasional but unlikely cost-of-fucking-the-people-as-usual-business? Then what will be the antidote? When the law fails as miserably as it has over the past eleven years (indeed, going back as far as Ford’s punk-ass pardon of Nixon), what alternate form of justice and deterrence do we institute?

          Lemme guess: we don’t do anything. We let the oligarchs control the government from top to bottom, from WH to cop on the street, and act with impunity because they have nothing meaningful to fear.

          Long live the republic, yessiree.

        • NMvoiceofreason says:

          Some of us are putting ourselves on the line to say NO to the administration and the oligarchs.

          Some of the people here represent the detainees, and fight almost every day in the courts to try to preserve a semblance of our rights (pre-Bush/Cheney). Others of us are involved in the civil litigation to try to get justice for those tortured, and to try to get accountability for those who did it. Hard work. Want to help?

  24. BeachPopulist says:

    Bmaz —

    Another question: do you really think that if the judge had imposed a six month sentence that it would have been successfully appealed and the result would have been no prison time at all (by order of the Appeals Court)? Or would it just have been remanded back to the trial judge with orders to reduce the sentence?

  25. bmaz says:

    Neither, the plea agreement stipulated that anything up to six months was presumptively reasonable and was not subject to challenge on appeal.

    • BeachPopulist says:

      Thanks for that clarification. So the judge could have handed him six months but chickened out. Now that really makes the one month sentence more of a joke (IMO).

      When imposing a sentence this puny and this far under what could have been imposed without fear of appeal, then I submit that we have, for all practical purposes, no justice system and no constraints, whatsoever, on the actions of the executive branch.

      • orionATL says:

        beach populist

        i like your fire and your well-working bullshit detector.

        you’re being worked over right now, which could be looked upon as not necessarily a bad thing for your future comments.

        but your fundamental point, if i understand it, is that bloch should do more time than a month.

        i really don’t see how anyone could disagree with that.

        absent here, in any comment i’ve read, is bloch’s real crime/sin –

        he betrayed many whistleblowers to their organizations.

        this is treachery and betrayal on an unforegiveable scale.

        i will add, i have read your comments at fdl also, and noted that there, also, they raise much rightous indignation – rightous indignation i do not perceive.

        i’ll end by advising thusly:

        -keep on shouting.

        -when you decide to shout, shout at REAL injustice, too often unnoticed, as you’ve done here.

        -realize that a weblog like this has many very smart experts, but being a “smart expert” does not seem to correlate especially with long term accuracy of prediction.

        -work hard to keep your comments in logical, rational order ( you’ve done a pretty good job of that here) no matter how angry you feel at

        a) the underlying injustice that moves you and

        b) the petty injustices you experience from fellow commenters.

        -you can be wrong. i often am. well-intentioned commenters will help you see that, if your eyes are open to see.

        bottom line:

        i like your passion and your unwillingness to be silenced by a hive attack.

  26. Tina O says:

    I am NOT agreeing with people who are talking about prison rape as a form of justice, NMvoiceofreason, hence my visual amplification. I understand it’s a victory he wasn’t allowed to slide out of his plea, but look at the learned acceptance of two tiered justice and where it’s taking us. “Take your crumbs and be happy about it” continues to brush away what should be growing public outrage. And my point Bmaz, is that I’m disgusted at the slap on the wrist that signals the go ahead for continued abuse. I wasn’t kicking you personally. Kneejerk name calling for being visually loud is beneath you. I don’t think you need to be so defensive. I will continue to read you because your insight into how the justice system is gamed is always helpful, but I’m not sure shutting people down for having a different style is a good tack to take.

  27. NMvoiceofreason says:

    [UPDATE: Bloch was sentenced to one month prison, one year probation and 200 hours of community service. His attorney indicated they will appeal, which could be interesting since the plea appears to, on its face, disallow appeal. And the saga of Scott the Blochhead rambles on…..]

    Plus there are those pesky covenants – you know, the ones where the DOJ and Bloch promised in writing not to seek to overturn the sentence if it was within the guidelines range….

    Turns out the word of the DOJ is no good to your face, no good in writing, and no good to the court. Who knew?

  28. NMvoiceofreason says:

    Tina O @80
    Sorry if my broadside at prison rape happened to catch you. Don’t think you have a wife, Tina O, but if you do I apologize to you and her. After answering the part you felt needed answering, I answered the others in the thread who had gone a bit far afield.

    Thanks again to BMAZ for holding DOJ’s feet to the fire, especially for those too far away from DC to send even a letter.