Jail Pending Appeal Rule, Not Exception
Big Tent Democrat notes that, contrary to what most of us presume, convicted criminals almost always go to jail immediately after sentencing rather than being permitted to stay out on appeal until they’ve exhausted their appeals.
While I’m not sure that should be the case, at least in cases like Scooter Libby’s where there is essentially zero danger of recidivism, it actually makes perfect sense. The presumption of innocence, at the heart of our system of criminal law, ends upon conviction. Appeal is merely to ensure that due process was observed in the trial.
Even though I was highly dubious about the circumstances that led to prosecuting Libby, I’m confident that Judge Walton was extremely fair in his handling of the case, bending over backwards to accommodate the shenanigans of a defense team for which he rightly developed obvious contempt. The only issue of which I’m aware that strikes me as even plausible is the constitutionality of the independent prosecutor’s office itself. Given that the constitutionality of federal law ought be accepted on face value until ruled otherwise and that freeing Libby on those grounds would be the very definition of “getting off on a technicality,” I’m not persuaded that he should be released while it gets sorted out.