Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How long will Black really serve?

If you’re in big trouble with the law, Ken Bell would be a good lawyer to have on your side. Bell’s determined defense of former Speaker Jim Black probably kept the former Mecklenburg lawmaker free a couple extra months while his sentencing hearing was postponed and may have helped persuade a federal judge to impose a somewhat shorter sentence than Black might have gotten.
This is conjecture, of course.
And Bell wasn’t able to get Black off the hook. At Black’s level of crimes – which presiding Judge Terrence Boyle concluded was closer to bribery than the legal terms involving “accepting illegal gratuities” implied for taking cash contributions from contributors – a stiff prison sentence was clearly in order. If Black had gotten off, or had been sentenced to an unusually short sentence, it would have mocked our criminal justice system and served as a sign that it’s okay to buy and sell votes and pull any kind of shenanigans just to stay in power.
Judge Boyle gave Black 63 months in prison plus a $50,000 fine. That’s five years and three months, but it was at the low end of a sentencing range that Judge Boyle said could have landed Black in prison for 78 months – or six and a half years.
There are those who believe Judge James Dever, who handled the Michael Decker case when former Rep. Decker pleaded guilty to accepting a $50,000 bribe to switch parties and help keep Black in power, would have given Black a longer sentence. Dever gave Decker a four-year sentence and issued a blistering description of Black’s actions as a selfish lust for power that corrupted the political process.
That’s when Ken Bell filed a motion asking that Judge Dever recuse himself from further proceedings. Judge Dever denied Bell’s assertion that he would be biased against Black because his and Decker’s scheme essentially reversed a lawsuit that then-private-attorney Dever helped win in a state court case over legislative redistricting. But Dever stepped aside anyway in the interests of putting this case to rest.
Judge Boyle took over the case, culminating Wednesday with his imposing a 63-month sentence. Dever, some courtroom observers thought, might have given Black a year or two longer in prison. We’ll never know.
Now: How long will Black serve? If he earns the normal federal good-time-off credit of up to 15 percent, he could be released in about 54 months – making his sentence about four years and six months.
There is no federal parole, but there is such a thing as time off for good behavior. Here’s a May 9 blog entry I wrote on this topic:
How long will Decker, Geddings serve?
U.S. District Judge James Dever has sentenced former N.C. Rep. Michael Decker and former N.C. Lottery Commissioner Kevin Geddings to four years in prison for their unrelated roles in a political scandal involving former Speaker Jim Black. Black has yet to be sentenced, but already readers are wondering what a federal sentence really means.
One reader asks:
“Nowhere in the Observer or on TV have I heard anything but Geddings has been sentenced to ‘four years.’ Now, the public are not dummies.... how long will he realistically be in jail, serving what has been called a longer then recommended sentence?
“When will the parole eligibility kick in? 6 months? Less?
“We all know that white collar criminals rarely serve a sentence that will disrupt their careers or personal lives. You know he will behave himself while he is locked up, (probably while writing a book about his innocence and perceived miscarriage of justice.) Let us know what the real sentence we can expect him to serve truly is.”
That’s a good question. Some years ago, inmates in both state and federal prison served a fraction of their nominal sentences, but that changed when both the federal government and North Carolina government rewrote their sentencing laws and did away with the parole system for crimes committed after the mid-1990s.
This is a federal case. I’ve looked up the guidelines and practice on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site and, if what I read is correct, federal prisoners can expect to serve roughly 85 percent of their sentences. That means both Decker and Geddings could expect to serve about 41 months in prison. They would be eligible for a “good conduct time credit” of up to 54 days per year in prison.
There is no such thing as federal parole. Both Decker and Geddings will also serve a two-year tem of supervised release, and each will also be responsible for paying a fine – $50,000 in Decker’s case and $25,000 in Geddings’ case.

18 comments:

David McKnight said...

Jim Black would never have bribed a Republican legislator to switch parties, as was maintained by the prosecution. The former Speaker could, however, distribute political funds to all other Democrats in the House, including new members of the party who may have decided to switch parties. Therefore, it would not have been unnatural for someone choosing to switch parties to the Democratic side to expect to have some chance at political campaign support, and it is regrettable that this likely scenario was not given the serious hearing and consideration it deserved.

This was all permissible through normal political campaign patronage practices involving providing campaign fund assistance from the leadership to members. Indeed, finding employment for people involved in politics is also a normal and traditional exercise in practical day-to-day politics. Candidates for governor, if nominated and then elected, do all they can do to attract the best possible people to the work of state government in the executive branch.

It seems that The Observer just lost interest in the Mecklenburg County vantage points of this story and stood silently by as a hard-working lawmaker and dedicated professional optician was falsely accused by the tight-as-a-rope, inside-the-Beltway Raleigh poltiical establishment.

Then, naturally, we get the first Observer "staff stories" on the sentencing in the form of a dual-byline account by two reporters for Raleigh's News & Observer--fine reporters to be sure but with no need to worry about the Mecklenburg County view on these developments.

If correctable missteps by as fine a person as Jim Black can be blown all out of porportion by the Cassius- and Brutus-like quarterbacks of Raleigh's political inquisition, then anyone coming out of Mecklenburg County with an interest in a public service career must be especially vigilent and cautious about any and all "appearances."

The thing for The Observer to do journalistically is to start getting the story right from the get-go, from the front end, rather than wait for the Raleigh Boo-Bird Chorus to take over and render shallow and suspect judgments in retrospect about what may have happened before. It is unconscionable that a newspaper like The Observer with an editor with strong ties to Fayetteville and Eastern North Carolina would settle for letting the Raleigh News & Observer serve as its Raleigh bureau for Charlotte-area readers.

That's like hoping Tim Duncan will give the Charlotte Bobcats an easy lane to the basket when they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Start getting it right from the beginning, Mecklenburg--both political participants and journalistic chroniclers--then your young people can have the same private- and public-sector career options as are taken for granted in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh.

Meanwhile, thee is still hope that the true facts in this case will eventually become more readily apparent for all to see and judge for themselves.

John Ryan said...

Jim Black is lucky he's not in China. Maybe that would be a deterrent for crooked politicians.

dan said...

Did someone call Jim Black a "fine person?"...

I'm laughing, loudly.

JAT said...

David --

Seriously, what planet are you posting from?

Mecklenburg was roo-rooed for years by the Down East kleptocracy Jim Black served. And what was the ONE local institution Black drilled down to win state funds for? UNCC, part of the huge UNC lobby in Raleigh.

If Jim Black was so great for the county and city, why do we have a road network that is a joke? Find me another growing, major city on the East Coast with so little capacity vs. demand. None of our peers would swap with us.

As for the rest of your rant -- what "career options" are lacking in Charlotte that ANY government official could remotely impact?

And if other cities are so great -- move.

Jim Black was a petty crook. Official Charlotte -- including the Observer -- turned a blind eye for years to that fact.

That history will stand. Forever.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I recently completed a short sentence in a federal prison camp for a white collar offense so perhaps I have a different perspective.

You quote a reader:

"Now, the public are not dummies.... how long will he realistically be in jail, serving what has been called a longer then recommended sentence?"

Your response was approximately correct in stating that Black will earn 15% off his sentence for "good time" (due to an oddity in the formula, it is actually closer to 13% -- click here for details). However, he is also entitled to 10% of his remaining time (max 6 months) in a halfway house. Thus 63 months earns about 9 months good time, leaving about 54 months, but he will be able to spend the last 5+ months (10% of 54) of that in a halfway house in Charlotte (or wherever he is living then). Thus he will actually do just over 48 months in prison. Furthermore, if he can qualify for the drug and alcohol treatment program (you don't REALLY have to have a problem to get in -- it's really quite funny), he could knock as much as another year off. Absolute best case scenario is 36 months with 6 months halfway house, but 48 months is more likely.

Your reader continues:

“We all know that white collar criminals rarely serve a sentence that will disrupt their careers or personal lives. "

To which I say: "Have you lost your f***ing mind?"

A 63 month sentence for a white collar offense is DEVASTATING; even the 48 months he will actually serve is devastating. But you know what... the prison time is the easy part. You have NO CLUE what he and his family have gone through over the last 2 years nor what the next 4 will do. Black will leave prison 76 years old. He and his family will never be the same.

Today's paper said he was facting a 33-41 month sentence... even that I thought was harsh. To end up in the 63-76 month range means that the judge had to buy the government's "enhancement" arguments and adjusted his sentence dramatically upward accordingly (after which he seems "merciful" by then sentencing at the bottom of the "enhanced" range). I haven't seen the specifics so I don't know how the guideline points shook out but for anyone to suggest that Black was "lucky" doesn't have the slightest idea what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

For those who care, I have a better link than the one above explaining the bizarre formula that BOP uses to calculate a "good time" and why it actually comes out to 12.8% rather than 15%:

CLICK HERE

It looks like Black will get about 235 days (47 days times 5 years) good time rather than 270 (54 days times 5 years). Note that you only get the good time credit at the END of each full year so he doesn't earn any good time for the last 3 months (his sentence was 63, not 60) because that is only "part" of his 6th year -- he never actually completes a 6th year to earn credit for it.

Indeed, I am not sure but it is possible that he may not even get the 47 days for the 5th year because he will not complete the 5th year based on the "good time" he earns during the first 4. That is, the 188 days (4 x 47) he earns through the first 4 years will get him below 5 years so he will not actually serve long enough to get credit for a 5th year's good time even though he was sentenced to 5+ years.

I know most of you could care less about this but it tells you a little something about our system that something that should be so simple could turn into something requiring a PhD in math to figure out.

One final aside... this is also why you see so many federal sentences at 1 year and 1 day. You have to serve MORE than 1 year to earn good time. An exact one year sentence requires all 365 days to be served. A one year plus one day sentence only requires 318 days (with the 47 days good time). That extra day makes ALL the difference.

Anonymous said...

IF ALL THE TRUTH BE KNOWN HE WOULD OF BEEN A LIFER IN JAIL...ALL THE HANKY PANKY THAT WAS DONE WITH HIS SONS DIVORCE .. EVERYONE GETTING PAID OFF TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK,JUDGES, LAWYERS, POLICE CHIEFS,ETC..I HOPE THE EX-WIFE IS HAVING HER DAY OF SAYING"THERE ITS YOUR TURN NOW. YOUR MONEY MEANS NOTHING!!! IF THERE IS ANY LEFT"...

Anonymous said...

IT'S NICE TO SEE THE WHOLE FAMILY SUFFER, THEY LIVED BEYOND THEIR MEANS WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, THEY ALL SHOULD GO TO JAIL, THEY HELPED JIM BLACK SPEND THE MONEY.

Anonymous said...

tibia money tibia gold tibia item runescape money runescape gold tibia money tibia gold runescape gold runescape accounts tibia gold tibia money runescape money runescape gp buy runescape gold tibia gold tibia item buy runescape money runescape gold runescape items tibia money tibia gold

Anonymous said...

BEIJING, Nov. 19, according to Xinhua Taiwan's "Today" reported that Chen Shui-bian's four-day fasting guard for medical treatment, including the Oriental Hospital and the Panchiao to spend a wow power leveling total of nearly 20,000 yuan (NT, the same below) medical wow powerleveling expenses, as His health insurance card to stay in Taipei Detention Center, must first serve their own expense, the medical expenses from his detention in custody of the gold deduction, but Chen Shui-bian's custody, only 16,000 yuan deposit, the deduction is not enough, said the detention center, not wow gold part of the Will be asked to make up for the families or lawyers.

1 At about noon today, Chen Shui-bian ambulance ride to live for three days to leave the county medical Panchiao District Court, although power leveling the people left, but still have to pay money, including an ambulance referral to spend 800 yuan, into the ring adhere to the intensive care unit Fasting only saline water and glucose, a day to spend about 1500 yuan, plus medical expenses, hospital fees, in Panchiao powerleveling hospital guard spent a total of three million yuan.

derfefww said...

I am so happy to get some last chaos gold and the lastchaos gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the lastchaos money is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should buy last chaos gold with the spare money and I gain some cheap lastchaos gold from other players.

chen said...

Do you know buy lindens? I like it.
My brother often go to the internet bar to buy second life linden and play it.
After school, He likes playing games using these cheap linden with his friends.
I do not like to play it. Because I think that it not only costs much money but also spend much time. One day, he give me many linden dollars and play the game with me.
I came to the bar following him and found secondlife money was so cheap. After that, I also go to play game with him.

cvxv said...

看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,美髮儀器,美髮,儀器,髮型,EMBA,MBA,學位,EMBA,專業認證,認證課程,博士學位,DBA,PHD,在職進修,碩士學位,推廣教育,DBA,進修課程,碩士學位,網路廣告,關鍵字廣告,關鍵字,課程介紹,學分班,文憑,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,日式料理, 台北居酒屋,日本料理,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,台北結婚,場地,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,造型系列,學位,SEO,婚宴,捷運,學區,美髮,儀器,髮型,看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,房子,捷運,學區,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,學位,碩士學位,進修,在職進修, 課程,教育,學位,證照,mba,文憑,學分班,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,結婚,場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,婚宴場地,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,居酒屋,燒烤,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,小套房,小套房,進修,在職進修,留學,證照,MBA,EMBA,留學,MBA,EMBA,留學,進修,在職進修,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,PMP,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,PMP,證照,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,漢高資訊,漢高資訊,比利時,比利時聯合商學院,宜蘭民宿,台東民宿,澎湖民宿,墾丁民宿,花蓮民宿,SEO,找工作,汽車旅館,阿里山,日月潭,阿里山民宿,東森購物,momo購物台,pc home購物,購物漢高資訊,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,民宿,民宿,整形,造型,室內設計,室內設計,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,民宿,美容,室內設計,在職進修,羅志祥,周杰倫,五月天,民宿,民宿,整形,整形,室內設計,室內設計,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,漢高資訊,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,蔡依林,林志玲

fdg said...

Some new style Puma Speed is in fashion this year. chaussure puma is Puma Shoes in french. Many france like seach “chaussure sport” by the internet when they need buy the Puma shoes or buy the nike max shoes.The information age is really convenient. By the way ,the puma CAT is really good chaussures puma ,don’t forget buy the puma mens shoes and nike air max ltd by the internet when you need them . Do you know Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .

Spring is coming, and how to choose the polo shirts is the main concern of many people. ralph lauren polo shirts is a classic type and reliable. ed hardy clothing is more in line with the aesthetic ideas of young people, so many young people filled with a variety of ed hardy clothes in their wardrobes. New style ed hardy womens shirt match the new style ed hardy sunglasses , it is a good idea.
Do you think this season is not for ugg boots ? maybe yes .but this season is best time that can buy the cheap ugg boots. Many sellers are selling discounted. Do not miss . Please view my blog and fc2 blog .thank you .

Lorraine said...

cheap wedding gowns
discount bridal gowns
China wedding dresses
discount designer wedding dresses
China wedding online store
plus size wedding dresses
cheap informal wedding dresses
junior bridesmaid dresses
cheap bridesmaid dresses
maternity bridesmaid dresses
discount flower girl gowns
cheap prom dresses
party dresses
evening dresses
mother of the bride dresses
special occasion dresses
cheap quinceanera dresses
hot red wedding dresses

传斌 said...

replica Watches
replica Watches
replica Watches
fake Watches
knockoff Watches
replica Rolex Watches
replica Breitling Watches
replica Cartier Watches
replica Omega Watches
replica Tag Heuer Watches
replica Bell & Ross Watches
replica Panerai Watches
replica IWC Watches
replica Patek Philippe Watches
replica Chopard Watches
replica Gucci Watches
replica Corum Watches
replica Montblanc Watches
replica Jacob & Co Watches
replica A.Dunhill Watches
replica A.Lange & Sohne Watches
replica Alain Silberstein Watches
replica Audemars Piguet Watches
replica B.R.M Watches
replica Baume & Mercier Watches
replica Blancpain Watches
replica BMW Watches
replica Breguet Watches
replica Burberry Watches
replica Bvlgari Watches
replica Chronoswiss Watches
replica Concord Watches
replica D&G Watches
replica De Witt Watches
replica Dior Watches

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags