Showing posts with label Supreme Court of the United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Supreme Court of the United States. Show all posts

Friday, June 29, 2012

Goodbye CNN!

U.S. Supreme Court building.
U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I remember a time when CNN was my go-to source for information. I felt that like it is advertised, CNN was the most trusted name in news.

No more. Yesterday, on one of the biggest political news stories--the U.S. Supreme court ruling on the Affordable Care Act--CNN got it wrong, horribly wrong.

I recall another time when the stakes were even higher that CNN got it wrong. It was in 2008 when CNN and several other news outlets reported, "Al Gore wins Florida," another story where the public was misled. We had to rely on time and hindsight for the real facts behind this convoluted truth.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ryan should stay in jail

English: Former Illinois Governor George Ryan
Ex- Illinois Governor George Ryan 
Ex-Illinois Governor George Ryan could be released from prison after serving only half of his 6 1/2 year sentence.

From my own personal association with George Ryan:  if anyone deserves to be in prison, George Ryan does.

His actions as Illinois Secretary of State resulted in the death of the six innocent children of  Scott and Janis Willis fifteen years ago. The children died in a fiery car crash that involved a truck driver who obtained his drivers license illegally. The investigation was covered up by Ryan's pals. Ryan took no responsibility and offered no apology. Willis called him arrogant. I agree.

After months of legal wrangling Ryan was finally carted off to prison, but not before his legal team tried every trick in the book to keep him out of prison. They sited his poor health and his wife's health. They even got him to remain free during months of appeals. All that time Ryan had one more gubernatorial perk, a 'get out of jail free card,' courtesy of his cost-free lawyer—another Illinois governor—Big Jim Thompson. 

Ryan was convicted after a seven month trial. He lost his pension even though Thompson fought hard for him to keep it. Justice was finally served. The only burden the taxpayers pay now, are George Ryan's food, clothing, and shelter. That is more than he did for many, despite taking an oath to serve the public.

Thompson will get one more chance to free his client, even if it is at the expense of the public.

In the latest turn of events, the U.S. Supreme Court revised the scope of the controversial 'honest services' law, one which has been criticized as being too vague. It has been revered by prosecutors but condemned by defense lawyers.

Earlier this week, Ryan's lawyers argued before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that Ryan should be released from federal prison. They claim he may not have been convicted by a jury under the newly revised standards in the 'honest services' law related to mail fraud. Mail fraud was one of the charges against Ryan.

So marks another attempt by Ryan's lawyers, to spring Ryan from jail. The legal team has left no stone unturned in their attempt to keep the 39th Illinois Governor who is one of six to be convicted of corruption since the 1920's, out of prison where he headed in November 2007. Indiana. His own health has been cited, as well as that of his wife, Lura Lynn, as reasons for him to be released from prison. Attorneys have tried to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear it. This time, that could happen. While Justice Pallmeyer promises to rule quickly, she told the Chicago Tribune that the case would likely be appealed. 

Ryan was convicted Ryan April 17, 2006 for multiple violations of federal law, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violations. He now resides in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The charges against him were a mere sampling of Ryan's long tenure in public office. It is too bad the prosecution could not have delved even further, uncovering all Ryan's wrongdoing in the local, and state offices where he has served, including the Legislature, Secretary of State, and Governor. But that wasn't possible. For that reason, it would be unconscionable for Ryan to go free based on this change.
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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, 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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