Though he won’t be, obviously. However, the fact that “federal sentencing guidelines are sure to significantly reduce his time behind bars” after a jury of his peers found Blago guilty [ed's note: I actually misspelled that as "quilty" the first time around, but then realized he wasn't a roll of Bounty paper towels] on 17 of 20 counts of corruption doesn’t do much to improve my faith in the efficacy of our justice system.
Seriously, 300 years? Even if he gets closer to 10 like most experts are predicting, the fact that the Honorable Judge Hypothetical could potentially demand the harshest sentence available in order to make some sort of example out of the ex-governor is rather absurd.
But Trevor, you shrilly interrupt. Didn’t you just say that there’s no way he’ll actually get 300 years? Ten sounds pretty reasonable to me, so where’s the miscarriage of justice?
First of all, I handsomely respond, “miscarriage of justice” is a slight exaggeration. I consider it more of a first-trimester abortion of justice. But that abortion lies in the fact that it’s even possible for a white-collar criminal whose crimes had limited long-term repercussions on the people around him and country he served to be sentenced to 300 years in prison in the first place.
Don’t think it couldn’t happen, either, because this isn’t some arbitrarily sensationalist position I’ve adopted in the face of all opposing evidence. Look at Steven Jay Russell, the genius con man portrayed by Jim Carrey in the 2009 film I Love You Phillip Morris who is currently 11 years into an actual 144-year sentence. Kinda gross, right? (Literally, I mean.)
Sure, Russell undoubtedly deserved to go to prison for his original crime of insurance fraud and the subsequent $800,000 he embezzled from an insurance company while on parole. And yes, he deserves an extended sentence for escaping from custody multiple times (always on a Friday the 13th, incidentally — which, c’mon, pretty bad ass, right?). But to be sentenced to 12 dozen years in a federal penitentiary — the majority of which he’s forced to spend (at least for now) in solitary confinement… Well, to quote Roger Ebert, that
seems a bit much for a man who never killed anyone and stole a lot less money than the officers of Enron.
And how about Bernie Madoff? More than 70 years old and on the verge of beginning a 150-year prison sentence. Okay, so he Ponzi’d his clients out of billions of dollars over the years, bringing not just various individuals but whole companies to their knees in the end, but the fact is, the damage Madoff caused is negligible when compared to the financial crisis as a whole — a crisis which led to the worldwide conflagration of trillions of dollars in total wealth but which has yet to result in the prosecution of a single high-profile participant in the still-ongoing global clusterfuck.
So say what you will about Rod the Bod, but at least acknowledge the back-asswardness of a system that could theoretically put a preening narcissist behind bars for 30 decades for “shaking down a children’s hospital, trying to sell a Senate seat and demanding cash campaign contributions in advance before signing a bill” and yet not lock up a single relevant Wall Street banker or broker (not that those distinctions meant much two years ago) for their role in the recession.