"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity..." - Hunter S. Thompson (pbuh), 1973

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Truth, Politics, and the Judicial Industry Collided...HARD

I would like to add to this, but I think the federal judge's statement at the end of this article says it best.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A former judge was sentenced Thursday to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in eastern Kentucky’s Clay County.
U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said former Clay Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle, 67, headed the conspiracy and therefore got the longest sentence to date in the case.
"Deterrence is a major factor in a case such as this," Reeves said.
Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including
racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud stemming from the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections. Later Thursday, Reeves sentenced another defendant, former Clay County Magistrate Stanley Bowling, to 15 years and 10 months.
Maricle, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, with his feet shackled and his gray and white hair askew, said little during the 45-minute hearing, noting that he testified at trial.
"Thank you for that opportunity," Maricle said.
One of his attorneys, Martin Pinales, said multiple issues would be appealed.
Nearly three dozen family members, friends and associates sent Reeves letters asking for leniency for Maricle.
The Rev. Aaron W. Mobley, a Baptist minister in Manchester, described Maricle as a man of compassion, integrity and goodwill and wrote that he respected Maricle for his "Christ-likeness."
"He has been a pillar to this community and to his church," Mobley wrote. "This community was better because of him."
Prosecutors have described the men's efforts as going beyond vote-buying toward an attempt to control Clay County. Jurors ordered them to surrender $3.4 million in assets as proceeds from the criminal conspiracy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman said Bowling was essential in the conspiracy to fix elections.
"He was absolutely a crucial cog in that wheel," Parman said. "What we have here is organized crime."
The judge agreed, saying the scheme would not have advanced far without Bowling.
Bowling declined to speak during his one-hour hearing.
Reeves recommended that Bowling, who suffers from multiple medical conditions, serve his time at a federal medical facility near his eastern Kentucky home.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen C. Smith told Reeves that the group Maricle headed, which also involved elections commissioners, a former county clerk and school superintendent, allowed crime to flourish in Clay County.
As part of the conspiracy, more than 8,000 people were paid $50 each for their votes in one election, and 150 votes were stolen by changing the voting machines, Smith said.
"In the 21st century, we would think that would be unheard of," Smith said. "In Clay County, they found a way to do it."
Reeves chastised voters in Clay County who sold their voting rights but weren't charged.
"There's a lot of folks who should look in the mirror tonight and be ashamed of what they've done," the judge said.

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