Showing posts with label John Paul Stevens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Paul Stevens. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

High court rejects Ryan appeal, Bush pardon seen as last option

The curtain is about to fall on chances for freedom for ex-Governor George Ryan.

Short of a Presidential pardon, Ryan will remain in prison to serve his 6 1/2 year sentence for corruption. And that is just what is being considered by Ryan’s high-powered legal team led by ex-Gov. James Thompson.

Thompson is planning to ask President George W. Bush to commute Ryan’s sentence. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Ryan’s appeal and that of Ryan’s co-convicted ex-business partner Lawrence Warner.

The pair was convicted April 17, 2006, of multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violation while Ryan served as Secretary of State.

Ryan is expected to be released from prison in 2013, but with a Bush pardon, his release could be right around the corner.

Speculation is high about whether or not Bush would consider granting a pardon to the disgraced ex-governor. Some claim that Republican ties are strong enough to encourage such an act, yet others believe there is little parity between Bush and Ryan politics. The most stark example of that is Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty, something that Bush clearly favors.

Ryan himself might be overlooked for a Bush pardon, but it could come as a favor to longtime Republican fundraiser Thompson.

Once requested, Bush will have until his last day in office, January 19, to make a decision as many other former presidents have done.

Thompson has taken the legal proceedings as far as he could, maintaining that because of some irregularities with the jury in the six-month trial for Ryan and his pal two years ago, the two did not receive a fair trial. Thompson’s opinion was bolstered by the sole dissent in the Court of Appeals and a minority opinion by Circuit Judges who ultimately refused to rehear Ryan’s case. But that argument failed to convince a federal appeals court to grant a new trial. And, it failed to sway the nation’s high court.

Last November U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to allow Ryan to stay out of jail while his case was being appealed to the high court.

In April, U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief stating that the U.S. Supreme Court should refuse to hear the appeal of convicted ex-Governor George Ryan.

The U.S. Solicitor General argues for the Government of the United States in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when the government is involved in a case.

Clement said complaints about jurors were misguided and a hearing was not warranted.

Ryan reported to prison in November 2007 to serve a six and one-half year sentence. He was initially sent to Oxford Institution, in Wisconsin, but was recently moved to Terre Haute Federal Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Under new regulations, of which Ryan was unaware at the time of his sentencing, Oxford could no longer care for inmates over 70 years of age. Ryan is 74.
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

George Ryan’s appeal opposed by Solicitor General

U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief Friday, April 25 stating that the U.S. Su-preme Court should refuse to hear the appeal of convicted ex-Governor George Ryan.

The U.S. Solicitor General, who was nominated by President George Bush in March, 2005 and confirmed by the Senate in June.

By definition, the solicitor general is to argue for the Gov-ernment of the United States in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when the government is involved in a case.

Clement said complaints about jurors were misguided and a hearing was not warranted.

Following Ryan’s conviction, his attorneys Dan Webb and former Gov. James R. Thompson did as they promised – to take Ryan’s case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Thompson was adamant that Ryan should receive a fair trial. His argument, that the trial was not fair, was based on some in-consistencies with some of the jurors during the six-month long trial. Thompson’s opinion was bolstered by the sole dissent in the Court of Appeals and a mi-nority opinion by Circuit Judges who ultimately refused to rehear Ryan’s case.

On Jan. 23, Thompson filed a petition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to act on Ryan’s behalf to overturn his conviction.

That was a final step in a long line of legal maneuvers that could no longer keep Ryan out of federal prison.

Clement also weighed in last November when Ryan’s bail was denied by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Ryan reported to prison in No-vember 2007 to serve a six and one-half year sentence. He was initially sent to Oxford Institu-tion, in Wisconsin, but was re-cently moved to Terre Haute Federal Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Under new regu-lations, of which Ryan was un-aware at the time of his sentenc-ing, Oxford could no longer care for inmates over 70 years of age. Ryan is 74.

Ryan and his business partner Lawrence Warner were con-victed on April 17, 2006, of mul-tiple counts of racketeering, con-spiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violation while he served as Secretary of State.

Ryan is expected to be re-leased from prison in 2013.


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George Ryan’s appeal opposed by Solicitor General

U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief Friday, April 25 stating that the U.S. Supreme Court should refuse to hear the appeal of convicted ex-Governor George Ryan.

George RyanThe U.S. Solicitor General, who was nominated by President George Bush in March, 2005 and confirmed by the Senate in June.

By definition, the solicitor general is to argue for the Government of the United States in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when the government is involved in a case.
Clement said complaints about jurors were misguided and a hearing was not warranted.

Following Ryan’s conviction, his attorneys Dan Webb and former Gov. James R. Thompson did   as they promised – to take Ryan’s case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Thompson was adamant that Ryan should receive a fair trial. His argument, that the trial was not fair, was based on some inconsistencies with some of the jurors during the six-month long trial. Thompson’s opinion was bolstered by the sole dissent in the Court of Appeals and a minority opinion by Circuit Judges who ultimately refused to rehear Ryan’s case.

On Jan. 23, Thompson filed a petition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to act on Ryan’s behalf to overturn his conviction.

That was a final step in a long line of legal maneuvers that could no longer keep Ryan out of federal prison.

Clement also weighed in last November when Ryan’s bail was denied by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Ryan reported to prison in November 2007 to serve a six and one-half year sentence. He was initially sent to Oxford Institution, in Wisconsin, but was recently moved to Terre Haute Federal Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Under new regulations, of which Ryan was unaware at the time of his sentencing, Oxford could no longer care for inmates over 70 years of age. Ryan is 74.

Ryan and his business partner Lawrence Warner were convicted on April 17, 2006, of multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violation while he served as Secretary of State.

Ryan is expected to be released from prison in 2013.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Ryan lawyers appeal to Supreme Court

As predicted, attorneys for ex-Gov. George Ryan filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

Dan Webb and former Gov. James Thompson, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Ryan’s behalf, seeking to overturn his conviction.

In November, 2007, Ryan began serving a six and one-half year prison sentence at a federal penitentiary in Oxford, Wisconsin.

More than a year before, on April 17, 2006, Ryan, along with his co-defendant and business partner, was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violations in connection with the ‘license for bribes’ scandal that began when Ryan was Secretary of State.

Short of appealing to President Bush for a pardon, this is Ryan’s last hope for freedom.

Ryan was supposed to report to prison by Jan. 4, 2006, but several attempts to overturn his conviction were attempted. He was, however, allowed to remain out of jail during the appeals process.

Ryan’s appeals fell short. A dissenting opinion on the Appeals Court, left the door open for Ryan’s attorneys to reach higher for an appeal.

Circuit Judge Michael Kanne issued the sole dissent last August when the Court of Appeals ruled against Ryan. Judge Kanne was also among the minority opinion in October when, by a vote of 6 to 3 vote, Circuit Judges refused to rehear Ryan’s case.

“The trial was riddled with errors that ultimately rendered the proceedings manifestly unfair and unjust, notwithstanding the production of overwhelming incriminating evidence against the appellants,” Kanne wrote, noting that the trial was “broken beyond repair.”

Thompson built his defense on his belief that Ryan did not have a fair trial.

“Ryan deserves a fair trail by jury no matter what the evidence is,” Thompson said, referring to jury misconduct, the sole subject of the appeals.

In the 37-page appeal, attorneys explored three questions. The first concerns the appropriate standard for determining when a deliberating juror in a criminal trial can be removed and replaced with an alternate.

The second question asks if a trial court commits structural error in permitting a jury verdict where more than half the jurors are interrogated in the middle of deliberations about their own misconduct in the presence of a prosecutor.

Finally, the third question asks whether a reviewing court must assess trial errors not only for their individual effects, but also for their cumulative effect on the trial proceedings.

“All these issues are the subject of widespread confusion and disagreement among the lower courts, and all are worthy of this Court’s review,” noted the appeal.

Also in question are the fifth and sixth amendments to the Constitution.

The fifth amendment, states that “No person shall be ... deprived of life liberty, or property, without due process of law ...”

The sixth amendment provides, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury, ...”

Experts have said there is an off-chance that the U.S. Supreme Court justices will agree to hear Ryan’s case, though only a small percentage of cases are heard by the high court. Although it was U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who denied Ryan’s request for bail.
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Friday, November 9, 2007

Ex-Gov. Ryan begins prison sentence

Justice is finally served as ex-Gov. George Ryan begins his six and one-half year prison sentence.

As of this writing, Ryan is enroute to Oxford, Wisconsin to begin paying his debt to society. He blatantly violated the public trust and abused Illinois’ highest office, treating it as if it was his own personal fiefdom.

He was accused of steering big government contracts to his friends and family, accepting payoffs, gifts, and lavish vacations.

On his way to the federal prison camp, Ryan was accompanied by another ex governor – Gov. James R. Thompson – whose high profile lawfirm, Winston & Strawn, represented Ryan free of charge.

In recent months, Ryan’s freedom resembled an hourglass. The sand, which was seemingly endless finally ran out Tuesday. It was then that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to extend Ryan’s bail, ensuring his immediate future. He had already been ordered to report to Oxford before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Before he left his Kankakee home Wednesday morning, Ryan spoke to reporters. He proclaimed his innocence, vowing to continue to fight to prove it. He said he would report to prison with a “clear conscience.”

But despite his resolve, even appeals court Justice Michael Kanne, who disagreed with the majority judges, favoring a retrial for Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner, wrote that the evidence against the two was overwhelming.

Experts say there is an off chance that the U.S. Supreme Court justices will agree to hear Ryan’s case. There is also a slim possibility that Thompson can ask to President George W. Bush for a pardon.

It was exactly 13 years ago Thursday that five children belonging to Scott and Janet Willis died in a fiery car crash. A sixth child later died as a result of the crash, which occurred when a chunk fell off a truck driven by a driver who obtained his driver’s license illegally. Thus began an investigation into the workings of the Secretary of State’s office. Not only did the Willis accident happen on Ryan’s watch, while he was Secretary of State, but instead of investigating the accident, Ryan’s pals tried to cover it up.

Ryan never took responsibility, apologized, or offered any explanation to the Willis family.

After Ryan was indicted, Willis called him arrogant. After Ryan was convicted in April 2006, Willis said “he arrogance continued.” Ryan must serve 85 percent of his sentence, even with good behavior.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ryan’s options have almost run out, Judge says report to prision by Nov. 7

The same three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied a motion to extend the bond for former Governor George Ryan, 73, and his co-defendant and business partner Lawrence Warner.

“Construing the motion as one that in part seeks reconsideration of this court’s order of Aug. 21, 2007, ordering appellants’ grant of bail to be extended ‘until this court issues its mandate,’ it is ordered that the motion is denied,” wrote Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood.

Circuit Judge Michael Kanne dissented, as he has consistently throughout the appeals process.

“The trial was riddled with errors that ultimately rendered the proceedings manifestly unfair and unjust, notwithstanding the production of overwhelming incriminating evidence against the appellants,” Kanne wrote, noting that the trial was “broken beyond repair.”

Unless the dissenting opinions in the appeals process will resonate with Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court very quickly, Ryan and Warner will have to report to jail as ordered by Circuit Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer by Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Ryan and Warner were convicted after a seven-month trial, last year, for multiple violations of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violations in connection with the ‘licenses for bribes’ scandal.

Ryan, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in jail following his conviction on all counts of wrongdoing April 17, 2006. Warner was sentenced to 3 1/2 years.

On Aug. 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the conviction. On Oct. 25, the full U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition for a rehearing.

In November, bond was granted, keeping Ryan and Warner out of jail.
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