Blago’s Last Stand
Last week I read an interesting article in the newspapers about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. With his sentencing date coming up soon, he and his wife have been furiously campaigning the public to send in letters of support for the convicted Governor.
I can only assume that Blago hopes to have a Miracle on 34th Street moment in which thousands of letters are dumped onto the judge’s bench. The idea is that the judge would then show leniency in sentencing Blago for his several convictions.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony of the situation. When a pardon petitioner seeks executive clemency, he will almost always supplement his petition with character letters in support of the petitioner. Now, Blagojevich is attempting to do something very similar by obtaining character letters of support for his sentencing.
When Blagojevich was Illinois Governor, he let thousands of pardon petitions sit pending with no decision. This is the cowardly way to deal with pardon petitions. Rather than actually taking a stand and risking political backlash one way or the other, Blago simply kept his mouth shut (the first time I’m sure). Current Governor Quinn is still working through the Blagojevich backlog that accumulated from as far back as 2003.
Ask any pardon petitioner and they will tell you that the wait is the hardest part of the process. Most would rather receive a denial than no decision at all. At the very least, a denial would allow the petitioner to re-file. But “pending” just means more sleepless nights of not knowing.
When thousands of convicted felons reached out for help from then Governor Blagojevich, he simply turned the other way. But now that Blago himself is in that same helpless position of being a convicted felon, he hopes to receive the help that he never gave when he was in a position to do so.
Honestly, I do feel for the guy. I fear he may get an excessive sentence simply because there was such a spotlight on this entire case, and people want their pound of flesh. But I still can’t help but appreciate the ways in which fate can toy with people.