Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rumpole vs. Mayo

Rumpole is fired up -- he goes to town on Sun-Sentinel columnist Mike Mayo here for his coverage of the Ken Jenne sentencing. (I'm a Mike Mayo fan and generally agree with him, but I agree with Rumpole on this one. What's going on this week -- I'm agreeing with Fred Grimm and Rumpole, and disagreeing with Mike Mayo...)

Here's a snippet:

Judge D did just what we want a Judge to do in a sentencing hearing: he weighed the defendant’s entire life against his admitted crimes. Judge D saw beyond the public’s cry for blood lust and vengeance and he fashioned a sentence that punished Mr. Jenne but was proportionate to his crime. Mr. Jenne served the public for over 30 years, and for the most part he served the public well. He left a lucrative law practice for public service, and along the way he made mistakes and lapses of judgment that became crimes. Jenne damn well should have known better, and for that reason the former Sheriff of Broward County sits in jail cell as you are reading this. That along with the public humiliation, probable disbarment, possible loss of pension, and financial burdens now thrust upon Mr. Jenne’s 60 year old wife are sufficient punishment for this man.

But Mr. Mayo cannot (or more likely ,chooses not) to see that the justice system does not exist merely for the judge to be a human calculator in which he or she totals the high possible sentence and then imposes that sentence. We have had (and currently have) our share of those Judges in Miami State court, and none of those Judges are especially admired for their acumen, insight and legal decisions.

In Mayo’s world, every time a judge does not arrive at the maximum sentence, especially for a public figure, it means the justice system is broken and served by a bunch of liberal “turn em loose” Judges who with a wink and a nod let their politician pals loose. That type of column catches the eye of the public, not to mention Hollywood, but it does a disservice to the readers of the Sun Sentinel and the citizens of Broward.

There's a lot more... Go read it.


Anonymous said...

Commodore says . . .

Ridiculous post by Rumpole. Jenne abused the public trust for his own personal gain.

I want to hear from criminal defense lawyers whose poor clients have stolen less and received much more time.

Anonymous said...

Jenne definitely got a sweetheart deal. Just look at the IRS statistics for these types of cases: the average sentence in tax cases involving public corruption was 36 months in 2006 and has consistently been around 3 years imprisonment. Jenn's sentence was far less than that and far less than he agreed to in his gift of a plea agreement. There's definitely a different standard for the poor than for the rich and formerly powerful. How many lawyers in this town can recall when the PSI came out lower than the plea agreement, followed by the judge going even lower?

Rumpole said...

My post is what happens when you run out of tequila and are too lazy to go to the store and have nothing else to do at night. I get grouchy and then look what happens.

Does anyone really think the Federal Guidelines are designed to go easy on public corruption defendants? Far from it. I would suggest to the lawyers who have
had clients sentenced to more time that the sentence was a product of an unfair guideline system more than Jenne getting a break. He got just what he deserved. If you think a year and a day is so easy, go spend thanksgiving with him in the SHU(which is where I assume he is being held). Then get disbarred, then lose your pension. Yes in a sense as an accomplished public fugure he had more to lose- but he's lost it. When is enough punishment enough?

Anonymous said...

Oh pulleaze, Rumps. Jenne was a crook and was a crook for a long time, by his own admission. He saw to it that others were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for their crimes -- all the while he was violating the law with impunity. And he put off any acknowledgment of wrongdoing until he had absolutely no choice, continuing to be paid every dime of his salary right up to the last moment. He fought the pre-indictment phase using taxpayer $$$ to pay for lawyers for his cronies. And now he wants the pension he earned while a crooked politician and cop. If anyone deserved to be hit for serious prison time, it was him. He got a sweetheart deal from the prosecutors and judge and then an an even better sentence, far below what others have gotten. Abuse of public trust is supposed to be a sentencing enhancement, not a mitigating fact.

Anonymous said...

Public corruption is the most insidious of all crimes because it erodes confidence in the integrity of the political system. When a sentence is imposed by simplistically weighing the defendant's history of public service against his underlying criminal activity, the public is cheated for the second time. Convictions involving public integrity provide the judicial branch with the relatively rare opportunity to send a message that similar conduct will not be tolerated and will be met with real consequences. Let’s face it, when sentencing time rolls around, public officials who have abused the public trust will undoubtedly be portrayed as great former public servants who either "stayed too long" or "briefly lost their way." A sentence should not only reflect the seriousness of the underlying conduct tempered by the defendant's good deeds but, in the context of public integrity offenses, it should also provide adequate deterrence to future similar criminal conduct. It is true that Mr. Jenne stands to lose more than his freedom for approximately ten months – namely a significant pension and, at least temporarily, a law license. Few future Ken Jennes, however, will be deterred by a sentence of less than one year especially where he had essentially agreed to a sentence in the 18 to 24 months range. Sadly, this sentence has the ripple effect of emboldening other less effective and more insidious public figures than Mr. Jenne.