Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More than 100 former attorneys general ask US Supreme Court to review Siegelman sentence

The Associated Press
on October 22, 2015

More than 100 former state attorneys general are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the sentence of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, who remains behind bars for his conviction in a government corruption case.

The brief, filed Wednesday and signed by 116 former attorneys general, supported Siegelman's latest appeal. Siegelman argues a judge wrongly gave him a longer sentence for pervasive corruption even though a jury acquitted him of those charges. While the Supreme Court has upheld the use of acquitted conduct in sentencing under certain conditions, the attorneys general said the practice violates both the U.S. Constitution and the public's sense of justice.

"People should not go to prison for conduct a jury finds them innocent of and finds that they did not commit," the governor's son, Joseph Siegelman, said Thursday.

Former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams said it is an issue of "basic fairness."

"We think the Siegelman case cries out for justice from many vantage points," Abrams said.


Siegelman, who was governor from 1999 to 2003, also served as Alabama's attorney general. This is not the first time he has gotten assistance from his former colleagues. Former attorneys general asked the Supreme Court to hear his appeal in 2009, saying the case raised free speech issues.


Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser 4:05 p.m. CDT October 22, 2015

The brief argued that former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who oversaw Siegelman’s case, improperly factored charges that a jury did not convict Siegelman on in handing down the sentence. The brief argues the jury had to determine that, and that without it, the jury became “a mere pass-through to punishment by the state.”

“It is one thing for a sentencing judge to make determinations about facts that a jury did not consider at all, such as the defendant’s lack of remorse, but it is another thing entirely to allow judges to find that conduct occurred by a preponderance of the evidence when the jury expressly acquitted the defendant of criminal charges based on that very conduct,” the brief states.

The brief is signed by 116 former attorneys general, both Democrats and Republicans. Former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams told The Associated Press the Siegelman matter was an issue of "basic fairness."


The jury acquitted the former governor of charges related to an allegation of a “pay for play” scheme. Fuller, at the prosecutors' request, considered the charge in determining Siegelman’s initial 78-month sentence in 2007. The attorneys general say that was improper and violated the Sixth Amendment’s guarantees of a jury trial.

“Because the judge-found facts used to increase Governor Siegelman’s Guidelines range resulted in a punishment that was not authorized by the jury’s verdict, those facts are elements of the offense that must be found by a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” the brief said.


52 attorneys general, including some who signed the brief Thursday, asked Congress to investigate the Siegelman case in 2008, saying it raised concerns about possible political prosecution.

Fuller resigned earlier this year, a year after Atlanta police charged him with misdemeanor battery in an incident involving his wife. Fuller agreed to a pretrial diversion program that led to the expungement of his record.

A report delivered to Congress in September concluded that Fuller physically abused his wife at least eight times and lied to a committee investigating the incident.


Don Siegelman - Political Prisoner

Oct. 16, 2015

An innocent man, imprisioned former AL Governor, Don Siegelman, was just put in solitary confinement for callin the Thom Hartmann show!!!

The back story. As you may know, a bipartisan group of 113 former Attorneys General, and top Constitutional Law professors determined the Siegelman was convicted of something that has never been a crime.

He was convicted of bribery, involving a contribution to a referendum advocacy campaign to establish free college education for Alabama’s underprivileged children. The courts concluded that Mr. Siegelman did not pocket a penny and the agreement between he and his contributor was an implied “explicit” quid pro quo, an oxymoron and a first in U.S. jurisprudence.

Siegelman was indicted by the U S Attorney’s Office in Alabama’s Middle District where the U.S. Attorney was the wife of his opponent’s campaign manager, Leura Canary. Ms. Canary recued herself, but email evidence shows she continued to be involved in the prosecution.

Siegelman, who committed no crime, languishes in a Louisiana federal prison. He has lost his law license, his assets, his reputation, and freedom. Serving more time in prison serves no public interest.

More details can be found at

Please call Obama's Pardons Attorney Deborah Leff and request clemency for Don. Her number is 202-616-6070.

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