Scooter Libby Denied Bail During Appeals

Barring a presidential pardon, it appears that Scooter Libby is headed to jail soon.

A federal appeals court Monday rejected former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s request to remain free on appeal after his March conviction on federal charges stemming from the leak of a CIA agent’s identity. Libby, once Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, faces a 30-month prison term after being convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents probing the 2003 exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, whose husband had become a critic of the war in Iraq.

A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals found Libby has not raised a question for judges “that is ‘close’ or that ‘could very well be decided the other way’” — the standard for remaining free on appeal.

Barring further appeals, Libby’s term will start when the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decides where he will serve his time and sets a date for him to surrender. But his lawyers may appeal Monday’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rarely intervenes in these kinds of cases.

Not particularly surprising. As noted previously, the norm is for convicted felons to go to jail given that the burden of proof has shifted to them to prove that there were errors at the trial level that swayed the verdict.

This will increase pressure on President Bush to issue a pardon or at least commute the sentence. All indications, however, is that he is not inclined to do that.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    Good ruling but why is he still free?

    Isn’t he is getting kind of special treatment Paris Hilton expected but failed, in the end, to get.

    Following the ruling he should have gone straight into the slammer. Right?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Following the ruling he should have gone straight into the slammer. Right?

    Typically not, at least for white collar crimes.

  3. Boyd says:

    Sentence, you are commuted.

  4. legion says:

    This will increase pressure on President Bush to issue a pardon or at least commute the sentence. All indications, however, is that he is not inclined to do that.

    Cronies, liars, and traitors: 1
    Rule of Law: 0

  5. modestly quiet riot says:

    AP just reported, the sentence has been commuted by President Bush.

  6. just me says:

    Commutation doesn’t surprise me at all.

    It keeps the conviction in place, but removes the prison sentence, Bush is already about as low as he can go with the people who will be most ticked off at this.

    Bush isn’t running for office, and by the time election season kicks off really well in January, this will mostly be forgotten.

  7. Jessica says:

    I’m glad to see that the court will not delay Libby’s sentencing (although apparently President Bush has no problem reducing it). Frankly, Libby deserves to serve his time for the crimes he has committed. If the world were fair, Cheney would also see his time in prison. It is vital that we hold on our political leaders accountable for their actions in every arena and on every issue. In the realm of global poverty, for example, we need to push our leadership in Washington to abide by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which the United States along with 191 other nations signed in 2000 and which commit the global community to eliminating extreme poverty by 2025. So as we send Libby to jail for his crimes, we must also think about what our other political leaders are doing (or, rather, what they aren’t doing) and hold them accountable as well.

  8. Bandit says:

    Cheney would also see his time in prison.

    Because you don’t like him? One thing libs and totalitarian mass murdering dictators always have in common is their preferred way of dealing with the opposition.