Judge Emmet Sullivan to Mike Flynn: You Sir, Are No Ted Stevens

Judge Emmet Sullivan just denied all of Mike Flynn’s efforts to blow up his plea deal. While it addresses his long list of demands one by one, even before he gets there, it’s clear he’s pretty fed up with this whole effort. Along the way, Sullivan accuses Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, of not ethically citing one of her sources.

The Court notes that Mr. Flynn’s brief in support of his first Brady motion lifted verbatim portions from a source without attribution. Compare Def.’s Br., ECF No. 109 at 11-12, 15-16, 15 n.21, with Brief of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Brown v. United States, 566 U.S. 970 (2012) (No. 11-783), 2012 WL 242906 at *5-6, *8, *12-13, *12 n.6. In a footnote, Mr. Flynn’s brief merely provides a hyperlink to the “excellent briefing by Amicus [sic] in support of the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Brown v. United States.” Def.’s Br., ECF No. 109 at 16 n.22.

The District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the proceedings in this Court. See LCrR 57.26. Rule 8.4(c) provides that “[i]t is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . [e]ngage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” D.C. Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 8.4(c); see In re Ayeni, 822 A.2d 420, 421 (D.C. 2003) (per curiam) (lawyer’s plagiarized brief violated Rule 8.4(c)). “[C]itation to authority is absolutely required when language is borrowed.”

He also reminded Flynn that before he pled guilty the second time, he (Sullivan) engaged in a sworn colloquy to prevent precisely the kind of back-tracking on his plea Flynn has been engaged in since June.

On December 18, 2018, this Court accepted Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea a second time. Sentencing Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 103 at 5, 16. During that hearing, the Court extended the plea colloquy in view of Mr. Flynn’s statements in his sentencing memorandum, which raised questions as to whether Mr. Flynn sought to challenge the conditions of the FBI interview. See generally Def.’s Mem. in Aid of Sentencing, ECF No. 50 at 6-18. In response to the Court’s question, defense counsel did not express “any concerns that potential Brady material or other relevant material was not provided to [Mr. Flynn].” Sentencing Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 103 at 10. Defense counsel affirmed to this Court that Mr. Flynn was not entitled to any additional information. Id. at 10-11. Under oath, Mr. Flynn confirmed that his rights were not violated as a result of the circumstances of his January 24, 2017 FBI interview and the allegations of misconduct against FBI officials. Id. at 11-12. And Mr. Flynn declined the Court’s invitation for the appointment of independent counsel to advise him. Id. at 9-10.

But perhaps the worst sign of Sullivan’s frustration with this ploy comes way at the end of his order, where he says explicitly that Flynn’s case does not resemble that of Ted Stevens, even though Powell has tried to make that claim over and over.

This case is not United States v. Theodore F. Stevens, Criminal Action No. 08–231(EGS), the case that Mr. Flynn relies on throughout his briefing.

He even hints that if he had found Brady violations, all that would get Flynn would be a trial.

Even if Mr. Flynn established a Brady violation in this case, dismissal would be unwarranted because “[t]he remedy for a Brady violation is retrial, not dismissal.” United States v. Borda, 941 F. Supp. 2d 16, 19 n.1 (D.D.C. 2013) (citing Pettiford, 627 F.3d at 1228). “[D]ismissal is appropriate only as a last resort, where no other remedy would cure prejudice against a defendant.” Pasha, 797 F.3d at 1139.

Sullivan scheduled sentencing for January 28, just over a month away.

Flynn had better hope his continued efforts to piss off Sullivan cool off before then.

78 replies
  1. VThunder says:

    Hasn’t this been the strategy for awhile? Let Powell piss off Sullivan to get an “unfair” sentence trump can quickly justify pardoning?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Powell’s efforts to cast Flynn as a put upon victim are less than Oscar-worthy, but they are theatrical, and probably deeply unethical.

      Trump can pardon Flynn at any time, with or without a reason. He might want political cover for it, to suggest he had a reason other than protecting himself. But that’s as iffy a proposition as an aide persuading Trump to focus long enough to actually do something.

      That something, as with Scooter Libby, should be commuting Flynn’s sentence rather than a pardon, which preserves Fifth Amendment jeopardy, which Flynn will surely need to keep mum. That can’t happen until after sentencing.

      • Rugger9 says:

        But it begs the question about why Individual-1 hasn’t pardoned Cohen, Flynn, Stone or Manafort as of yet, so what could he be waiting for? It’s clear these particular Palace minions have been trolling for a pardon, but while Arpaio got his, there aren’t any for these guys in the middle. It’s almost as if Individual-1 wants them in prison so they can’t talk….

        • Rugger9 says:

          Commutation would wait for after sentencing, but all of these amigos are convicted and some are serving time on sentences, so what is the real reason for the delay?

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          May have been rhetorical but my WAG: I think Trump is sadistic enough to enjoy not pardoning/commuting, especially if he wins a second term. If he loses, I’m guessing shortly before he leaves office he pardons himself, his family, and his business entities and no one else (related to his case).

        • Katherine M Williams says:

          Trump will only do what he believes benefits him. At the moment pardoning Manafort&Co. doesn’t do a thing for his re-election or general popularity (as pardoning Arpaio, and the murdering Seal did), so why bother? He feels no loyalty or friendship for his minions.

        • P J Evans says:

          So far Trmp’s pardons have been for his base only; the rest of us aren’t going to vote for him based on those.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          He has something they desperately want and will get more out of them for it. Why pay the debt when you can get something else?

        • Matthew Harris says:

          My own guess (and it is only a guess), is that however far the Senate Republicans have gone to defend Trump in public and in the media, at some point there was a conversation with Trump where they said they wouldn’t defend him past a certain point, and pardons were one of those.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          I’m hesitant to think there are any depths the Republican’s won’t go to in order to stay in power. That communication may have occurred, but I doubt the Senate majority would do more than complain in private.

        • bmaz says:

          Matt Harris – can you point out who, in the current scenario, would walk up the Hill to tell Nixon the gig was up and he needed to go?

          Because I do not see any Barry Goldwater, John Rhodes and Hugh Scotts out there. Who are the messengers that can pull that off now?

        • Matthew Harris says:

          That is what doesn’t make sense to me, either.

          We have a situation that does not make sense: Trump, who usually does not display caution in his behavior, is displaying caution with pardons.

          So I have to guess which is more likely: that Trump is displaying caution out of his own common sense, or that someone is making him display caution. Even though the second seems improbable, to me, it is more probable than the first.

        • bmaz says:

          Of what relevance is that story?? It is a standard play for immunity, and Flynn and his lawyer Kelner would have been derelict to not attempt it. There was nothing wrong with that in the least.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Sorry for that last cop-out. It just won’t do. So here’s the thing:

          Flynn created more suspicion than was strictly necessary.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Flynn’s communications with Kislyak were bound to provoke a certain amount of unavoidable and, therefore, “necessary” suspicion.

          Flynn’s lies about those communications were avoidable and, therefore, unnecessary–especially if, or since, the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.

          Flynn’s request for Congressional immunity as well as his invocation of the 5th to refuse production of documents in response to a Congressional subpoena, unnecessarily compounded the suspicion against the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with Russia.

          Had Flynn not made those unforced errors, Trump might be more inclined to commute whatever sentence Flynn receives.

        • M. Smith says:

          I have no inside knowledge, but I’m guessing someone waiting for a pardon can be easy to control, while someone who already has one can be a loose cannon instead.

        • foggycoast says:

          Arpaio has got nothing on Trump. Cohen, Manafort, Flynn and Stone all do. As long as they are in or likely going to prison they’re not gonna talk without full immunity, which they are not getting. Trump likes it that way. If he pardons or commutes them they can rat on him with impunity and rake in $$$. If they talk while in the pokey he’ll never pardon them. He has them right where he wants them.

  2. Yogarhythms, says:

    Plagiarism isn’t the best look if seeking sentence worthy of pardon. Obviously ianal SP ruffles plenty to what ends is mystery to me. Fingers crossed pauly’s hostel has bunk vacant for mikey.

  3. Willis Warren says:

    I think the general strategy is to convince the gun owners of America that the DOJ and the judiciary are hopelessly corrupt and that we need to let (checks notes) Donald Trump reform them all.

    • bmaz says:

      Unless there is a provision in the sentencing order saying so, or a subsequent action under UCMJ removing it (beyond unlikely), yes he will.

      What is enough punishment? Should pensions always be stripped, even if the military status had nothing to do with the charges sentenced on? And, if so, please explain where you get off with that.

      • Rugger9 says:

        The Army would have to “dismiss” him which works like a dishonorable discharge. I don’t see that happening even though Flynn richly deserves it.

        • bmaz says:

          Right. And it is not happening. Arguably, Flynn could fight such an attempt very hard, were it to occur, but it will not.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Long ago, I had noted more than a few violations of the UCMJ that the Army could string Flynn up for, but as correctly noted that would take motivation to do so and I do not see the current Army being able to pull that off. This is especially true when considering the effect of the recent interference by the Palace regarding the war criminals duly convicted by a jury of their military peers. That’s one very important event between the last time I weighed in in the UCMJ and now and it has severe consequences for holding Flynn accountable.

        Even if the JCS did the deed themselves with a general court martial, Individual-1 would just wipe out the verdict. So, why bother?

        FWIW, the pension will be something in the neighborhood of 75% of his base pay as an O-8 so one can look it up.

        • Peterr says:

          Why bother?

          Respect for justice.
          Respect for the chain of command.
          Respect for the oaths they and Flynn and every officer swears to the constitution.
          National security: telling the US military and nations everywhere that misconduct by a US general — even one as politically connected as Flynn — will not be tolerated.

          That’s just for starters.

          Of course, as bmaz says above, it ain’t gonna happen — or if it does, it will be part of The Revolt of the Generals.

        • bmaz says:

          Keep in mind that he pled to one count of §1001 false statements only, and that the common range for that with no priors is 6 months or less.

          The thing is, Flynn, if not for his bizarreness, and I am talking about long before Sid Powell, likely could have walked out of sentencing in his suit with no time.

          But Flynn is bonkers and screwed it up. Oh well….

        • P J Evans says:

          ISTR he got fired by Obama for being bonkers. (I suspect that was part of the reason why that letter was sent to the transition team, warning them not to hire him.)

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

          Judge Sullivan will not run afoul of The Eighth Amendment.

        • bmaz says:

          Sullivan could sentence Flynn up to five years (the statutory maximum for §1001 false statements) without being in particular conflict with the 8th Amendment. It is only about guidelines and norms. Frankly, I would be shocked if Flynn is sentenced to even his guideline max, which is six months. 1-4 looks to me where he will land.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Yup on all of that, but at the flag level unfortunately the politics will seep in on occasion. I wouldn’t kowtow either but I’m not a lifer.

  4. Rapier says:

    Flynn is a loose cannon or to put it another way he has gone round the bend. Trump would be stupid to let him loose I think. Well unless he’s looking for a general to stage a coup but the problem there is would Flynn want Trump as leader or somebody else?

  5. MattyG says:

    Maybe team Flynn is being directed to try and delay sentencing “at all cost”. Say by DT emissaries carrying the message to push foward as far as possible the handing down of the heavy sentence that will not paint the Tangerine Mussolini in a favorable light. And this is what “at all costs” looks like – a deeply conceptually flawed appeal to Judge S. Is Flynn still part of that JDA?

    • Rugger9 says:

      I haven’t heard that Flynn relinquished the JDA, but after the first plea deal that might have been one of the conditions or the consequence since if guilty there’s nothing to defend after that. Or, so we think.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, he did, and long ago. And, for what it is worth, it is unethical to stay in a JCA after you have entered a cooperation agreement with the government. Not saying it never happens, but it should never.

  6. Peterr says:

    The first sentence in Sullivan’s ruling made it abundantly clear that if there was a parallel to US v Stevens here, Flynn was in the position of the prosecutors, not Ted Stevens:

    On December 1, 2017, Defendant Michael T. Flynn (“Mr. Flynn”), a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and the former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, pled guilty to willfully and knowingly making materially false statements and omissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).

    In US v Stevens, Sullivan came down like a ton of bricks on prosecutors who acted in violation of their office. Here, it’s Flynn and the offices that he held that so clearly pissed off Sullivan. By rolling out Flynn’s two big titles right off the bat, Sullivan signaled in writing that Flynn was in big trouble. Recall, please, just how pissed Sullivan was in his verbal back-and-forth with Flynn at the aborted sentencing hearing, to the point that he asked the prosecutors if they had considered treason charges.

  7. dadidoc1 says:

    I wish Judge Sullivan would delay sentencing for another six or nine months just to keep things interesting. Is it possible to commute or pardon someone who hasn’t been sentenced?

    • Peterr says:

      Pardon before a sentence? Yes. That’s what Richard Nixon got.

      Commute before a sentence? No. What is commuted is the sentence, so until there is an actual sentence imposed, there’s nothing to commute. That’s what Scooter Libby got from Bush, before Trump fully pardoned him.

    • bmaz says:

      Dadidoc1 – What in the world would be “interesting” about that?? For your general amusement? So that the chucklehead press could clack about it? And, back to your first sentence, what “things” would magically be so interesting?

      • dadidoc1 says:

        I would like to retract my previous comment as it was ill considered. Most of the punishment meted out to Michael Flynn will be in payments for his legal representation, not in time served. I’ll be surprised if he serves a day behind bars.

        • bmaz says:

          Meh, no worries. What Flynn has done is maddening. I am inclined to think he gets some time, just not much. Straight probation is certainly still possible though. Be interesting to see the government’s new position, if any, after all this.

          And, remember, Flynn did bugger his cooperation agreement and was not useful to the government as to the Bijan Rafiekian trial, where the jury convictions were vacated for insufficient evidence. That is a problem for Flynn methinks.

        • timbo says:

          What irks me about Flynn is that the military will likely not remove his pension. This shows that retired/fired staff officers are, for all intents and purposes, immune to having their tax payer funded pensions removed for violating the foreign agent lobbying laws. The stability of our Republic is ill-served by giving these so-called “honorable men” such passes.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    I agree with everyone who’s saying that Judge Sullivan is clearly tired of Flynn’s crap, but I haven’t seen anything that screams “angry judge” or even “emotional judge”. If Sidney Powell’s plan was to bait the judge into losing his temper, I don’t think it’s showing in this 90+ page decision. And she ended up getting dinged for plagiarism, too, which is hardly the worst thing that Sullivan could’ve said about her antics, but it’s something that’s pretty easy to prove, and to do so dispassionately, which is what happened here.

  9. Peterr says:

    IANAL, but my reading of Sullivan’s memorandum opinion says to me that Flynn ought to be thankful Sullivan did not hold him in contempt for lying to the court. From pp. 90-91:

    The sworn statements of Mr. Flynn and his former counsel belie his new claims of innocence and his new assertions that he was pressured into pleading guilty to making materially false statements to the FBI. E.g., Sentencing Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 103 at 11 (affirming it was not his “contention that Mr. Flynn was entrapped by the FBI”); id. (affirming that “Mr. Flynn’s rights were [not] violated by the fact that he did not have a lawyer present for the interview”); Plea Agreement, ECF No. 3 at 10 (“I fully understand this [Plea] Agreement and agree to it without reservation. I do this voluntarily and of my own free will, intending to be legally bound.”); Plea Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 16 at 29 (affirming that no one “forced, threatened, or coerced [Mr. Flynn] in any way into entering this plea of guilty”). And it is undisputed that Mr. Flynn not only made those false statements to the FBI agents, but he also made the same false statements to the Vice President and senior White House officials, who, in turn, repeated Mr. Flynn’s false statements to the American people on national television. See Gov’t’s Surreply, ECF No. 132 at 8.

    Sullivan seems to be charitable here when he contrasts Flynn’s earlier multiple sworn statements of guilt with Flynn’s new claim of innocence and assertions that he was pressured and entrapped. To accept Flynn’s new claims requires that Sullivan find that Flynn’s earlier representations to the court were lies, yet Sullivan lets him off the hook for those lies.

    That’s about the only good news for Flynn that I can find in this ruling.

  10. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    @Lawyers here

    Is there any chance Flynn could file some post-sentencing motions complaining about bad representation from Powell in a bid to improve his outcome/try and “appeal”? Not sure what the options are in that regard when they have pled guilty and turned down the judge’s offer of independent counsel earlier, why I’m asking, thanks.

  11. Beddy says:

    also @lawyers

    The Rick Gates sentencing doc made laudatory mention of his resistance to generous offers for legal defense from outside interests.
    As a layfolk, a kneejerk cynical response might be – ‘well, of course thats the way it works’.
    But is it?
    And if so, is it correct to assume that Mike Flynn is not so much lobbying for a pardon but rather making a rational choice having been backed into a hole by enormous legal bills? Did he monetize his risk? – say, the risk of some months in jail in return for hundreds of thousands for past and future legal bills. Did outside monied interests like those mentioned in the Gates doc, purchase Flynn’s legal defense to use in pursuit of their own interests? Did Gates only turn down a similar offer because his risk was greater?

    I would appreciate you lawyers chiming in with a quick – ‘No, absolutely not you dumbdumb. That is not the way the law works. The system is hundreds of years old and has mechanisms built into it to guard it against these type of perversions.’

  12. bmaz says:

    Okay, there is something I meant to address earlier, but it is idiotically early here and I forgot to go back to it. I know everybody is excited that Emmet Sullivan dressed Sid Powell down hard over “plagiarism”.

    Sullivan’s opinion was a detailed masterpiece at deconstructing and eviscerating Powell’s nonsense Fox News bullshit arguments, and the judge deserves credit for that.

    But his bit on “plagiarism” is complete and utter bullshit on his own part. Lawyers borrow other lawyer’s work all the time. Like every day. And, no, it is not really a problem. But, here, Powell added a footnote with the proper attribution, and the thought that that was not sufficient is fucking ludicrous. That portion of Sullivan’s opinion should not be cheered.

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t think it was the citation, so much as the lifting of a good chunk of two paragraphs.
      (ew wasn’t the first to point it out.)

      • bmaz says:

        You have to be kidding me. That happens every minute of every day. Ask anybody that really does criminal defense especially, but other trial court work too. Sullivan was out of bounds on that.

        • P J Evans says:

          Powell might be dim enough to steal borrow stuff without proper citation, too. (I was taught that you use your own words, unless you’re actually quoting, with citation, someone else, in which case you make it really clear it’s a quotation.)

        • bmaz says:

          Seriously, that may be the only thing Powell did not do with ethical questions, but that was completely fine. If this was an “ethical problem”, every criminal trial lawyer in the country would be disbarred. Especially PD”s who barely even have time to cut and paste.

        • Peterr says:

          I respectfully disagree.

          Powell’s argument in the section of the brief in question was about the need for “the actual 302s, text messages, notes, and all actual documents the defense has requested” and not summaries of these things. She expresses concern about “unnecessary risks of mistake and misrepresentation . . . [and] cognitive-bias problems.” That’s the point at which she quotes the work of someone else, without attribution.

          Let that sink in for a minute.

          She didn’t quote without attribution someone else’s work on what constitutes proper predication for obtaining a FISA warrant.

          She didn’t quote without attribution someone else’s work on who is and is not required to register as a foreign agent under FARA.

          She quoted someone else talking about mistakes and misrepresentation, even as she misrepresents those very words to be her own.

          That’s trolling of the highest order. Also flat out stupid, as Sullivan appropriately made abundantly clear.

        • bmaz says:

          That is a load of crap. If you actually practiced trial law, you would know that. Please. This is just pure unadulterated bullshit.

        • Peterr says:

          Why is that a load of crap? I’m not a trial lawyer, and I don’t get it.

          The rules of professional conduct to which Sullivan points everyone talks about the absolute requirement to provide properly formatted references to any and all authorities cited. If this is a load of crap, then why is this part of the rules of conduct?

        • bmaz says:

          Because I am, and that is complete bullshit by Emmet. Powell gave sufficient attribution, and, no, she was not necessarily obligated to give any. How many PD’s do you want disbarred for this chickenshit crap? Seriously, this from Sullivan is some of the dumbest baloney I have ever seen.

          Did you read the link by Scott? Did you see my and Marcy’s colloquy with Matt Segal? Thing is, this is what Scott, Matt and I do, and have forever..

        • Peterr says:

          I read the link by Scott, but I did not see the colloquy with Matt Segal and cannot find it either.

          Look, I get that there is a lot of boilerplate in legal argumentation – but this isn’t boilerplate.

          I get that if someone else came up with a great argument that worked in another court, there’s no copyright on that and you are free to use it.

          BUT the plain language of the Rules of Professional Conduct make it clear that you have to cite it. At the very least, the RPC admits that there exists *something* that rises to improper use of the work of others, so how much is a lawyer allowed to cite without attribution before falling afoul of the RPC?

          Powell didn’t borrow a phrase like “fruit of the poisoned tree”, but entire paragraphs of someone else’s work.

          How hard can it be to say “As the learned So-and-So said in a brief before XXX in A v B:” and then indent the paragraphs that So-and-So wrote or put them in quotation marks?

        • bmaz says:

          That is absolute horseshit. I don’t tell you how to preach, don’t tell me about what I have done for the last 3 plus decades. You are out of your element and buying off on total crap.

        • Peterr says:

          I’m not telling you how to practice law – I’m trying to understand how the PRC understands plagiarism. You, EOH, and others are clear that the actual practice of law admits to a certain amount of borrowing language and arguments from other filings, and the PRC is clear that somewhere there is a limit to that and a lawyer can indeed commit plagiarism. Sullivan drew the line between those two in one place, and you believe it should be somewhere else.

          So I’ll ask it again: How much do you belive a lawyer can borrow from someone else’s work product before falling afoul of the PRC? Where’s that line, from where you sit?

        • timbo says:

          Flexibility in the use of language is an interesting place to have to live. Should citation be required or is it just unreasonable in many cases, complicating things beyond any usefulness?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Happens all the time in commercial practice. Good lines, paragraphs, and organizing ideas become standard and appear everywhere. Only idiots “copyright” their terms, because everybody borrows and nobody’s work is original enough to qualify.

        • David B Pittard says:

          copyright exists the moment of publication; registration requires an affirmative step. without registration, one can still obtain an injunction against further improper use of another’s work; registration provides the additional remedy of compensation.

        • Peterr says:

          OK, but then what’s the line between borrowing “good lines, paragraphs, and organizing ideas” and what the Rules of Professional Conduct that Sullivan cited declare to be wrong?

        • orionATL says:

          some important piece of information, some important understanding, is seriously missing from the debate between peterr/sullivan and bmaz.

          bmaz is a lawyer with decades of court experience. both peterr and the judge have compelling arguments that appear logically irrefutable. what is the missing understanding? was sullivan, the epitomy of plain spoken, trying to intimidate/con powell; that doesn’t seem likely. did a young clerk write in something that sullivan missed in the 90 pages? are the rules of professional conduct merely winked at both by the court and its sworn soldiers?

  13. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy. Remember last December.

    “All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security advisor to the president of the United States,” Sullivan told Flynn, referring to the other case, for which Flynn was not charged.

    “That undermines everything this flag over here stands for,” the judge said. “Arguably you sold your country out.”

  14. orionATL says:

    thanks for this memory.

    this cite is one of several interesting cites appearing here that allow us to see the depth of judge sullivan’s contempt for general flynn. i happen to concur with the judge – in spades.

    “honor” and “duty” are two words that are really almost sacred to military officers – maybe actually sacred. many believe in this code. flynn failed the “honor” standard for sure.

    i think the problem in guessing at sentencing though is that the opinions a judge expresses about a defendant in court may not predict how the judge will behave at sentencing. in fact the opposite may be the case. a judge who says “you sorry son-of-a-bitch, if i’ve ever seen a more despicable bastard than you i can’t recall it.”, and then sentences a defendant to 20 years may be on the way to having his judgment overturned.

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