Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Finally Corrects Error in Article on Libby’s Sentence

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:11 pm

That error that Stu707 noticed in an L.A. Times article on Scooter Libby’s sentence has finally been corrected:

Libby sentence: A July 4 article in Section A about President Bush’s commutation of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term, comparing that 30-month sentence with penalties in cases similar to Libby’s, cited the case of a decorated Army veteran sentenced to 30 months for lying to a federal agent about buying a machine gun. The article incorrectly said the veteran had no criminal record. He had been convicted in 1986 of making false statements in connection with a firearms purchase. Sentencing guidelines did not count that against him because it was more than 10 years before the more recent offense.

It took only 13 days from the day the article came out — which was the same day I spoon-fed them the correction. And all it took was two e-mails to the Readers’ Representative, one post pointing out the error, and one post bitching about the delay.

P.S. In that post, I said:

[S]ome may argue that the error is indeed trivial, because under the Sentencing Guidelines, Rita’s previous conviction did not count for purposes of calculating his criminal history points. In fact, if we ever do see a correction on this, I have absolutely no doubt — none whatsoever — that the paper will include a sentence trying to minimize the importance of the error by noting this fact.

Call me Karnak. (I think it’s supposed to be spelled “Carnac,” but I prefer “Karnak.”)

P.P.S. In the same post, I also noted that U.S. v. Booker (which Rita accepted as applicable precedent) held that the Sentencing Guidelines are merely advisory, meaning that the judge could have taken Rita’s previous conviction into account despite the Guidelines. So the weaselly correction is misleading. Now there’s a first!

7 Responses to “L.A. Times Finally Corrects Error in Article on Libby’s Sentence”

  1. Pat, Congrats.
    Liberated a copy of the dog trainer this noon, turned to the corrections, and saw this. Immediately thought of you, and that you were probably dancing a subdued jig, since you nailed it so well.
    Well Done!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  2. Credit goes to Stu707.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  3. Well done both of you.

    Poorly done from the L.A. Times. 13-days indeed.

    This is off topic, but yay.

    Christoph (8741c8)

  4. Call me Karnak.

    Shouldn’t that be “Call me Karnak the Magnificent”?

    DRJ (bea74b)

  5. It’s implied.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  6. Thanks for crediting me, Pat. But I have no doubt that mentioning their error here and your email to the Times was the cause of the DT making the correction.

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  7. Somewhat Off Topic … (live preview not working, here goes)

    Patterico, based on your post from July 4 …

    Libby’s sentence fit within the guidelines as well. And, ironically, the Bush Administration has been pushing legislation that, according to a speech given by AG Gonzales, would “restore the binding nature of the sentencing guidelines so that the bottom of the recommended sentencing range would be a minimum for judges, not merely a suggestion.”

    Does that indicate you would not agree with this Judge Walton quote …

    Walton: Let’s look at obstruction. I’ve looked at Defense filing and cases, while none of the cases may be factually directly on point, it does seem that [names a bunch of circuits] have all indicated that you don’t look at weight of evidence, you only make assessment whether there was an appropriate investigation and if that determination is made, all circuit courts seem to indicate cross-referencing is mandatory.

    Which is it really, mandatory or suggestion?

    My take is that linking penalties for obstruction to even a certain crime is not consistent with overall US justice philosophy. A reluctant witness may withhold evidence simply to avoid revealing an extramarital affair and considers his marriage more important than prosecuting a white collar crime like insider trading. Linking that obstruction to some huge penalty involving millions would simply be unjust.

    boris (ad3d7f)

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