The Gobbledygookleness of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

judge-cartoon-graphic-280x165I wrote recently about how a multi-millionaire whose actions defrauded the federal taxpayers of millions of dollars and a guy scraping by as a custodian who took less than ten thousand dollars to move some people up on a federal waiting list both received a recommendation of two years in prison. I pointed out that the big money man might not end up doing a day while the poor impoverished custodian ended up being sent off without a how-do-you-do even after he profusely apologized for his crime of taking small change for changing places on a waiting list.

My comment was mentioned on another site. Some of the people who commented there talked about the federal sentencing guidelines and not the judges were responsible for the sentencing. That’s the propaganda we are supposed to believe that somewhere there is an impartial system where all people are to be treated equally under the law which is a lot of nonsense.

The corruptness of the sentencing guidelines was most poignantly shown in the case of Catherine Greig who in her mid-fifties was facing federal charges for non-violent, non-drug related crimes. She, as you know, was the girlfriend of James ‘Whitey” Bulger who stayed with him during his 16 year flight from justice. There was no evidence that she knew the extent of his criminal activities outside of his running the gaming rackets in South Boston at the time she fled or any evidence she knew he was charged with murder of believed he engaged in any murders.

The federal prosecutors in Boston who routinely deal out Mafia criminals for 5 years or less recommended she do 10 years. No matter how hard the probation number people could press it they could not come up with more than her doing a little over two years. That was before the judge set to work doing his magic to please the prosecution by twisting and turning the federal guidelines which shows their absolute meaninglessness in the face of a determined foe.

The Court of Appeals set out how the judge arrived at sentencing her for eight years. If it can be done to her it can be done to anyone if the federal agents want to work at it. Here is how it was done by the judge as explained by that court:

Greig’s sentencing took place on June 12, 2012. Her three counts of conviction fell into two groups – group 1 was the conspiracy to harbor count and group 2 was comprised of the two identity fraud counts. Utilizing the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”), the judge calculated the adjusted offense level for group 1 to be 32. This level was based on the -7- crimes alleged in Bulger’s two indictments (the most serious being RICO murder) as the underlying offenses, which resulted in a base offense level of 30 pursuant to the accessory after the fact guideline applicable to the harboring conspiracy count. U.S.S.G. § 2X3.1. The court then applied a two-level increase for obstruction of justice. Id. § 3C1.1. The judge put Greig’s adjusted offense level for group 2 at 16. This number was reached by applying the offenses involving fraud guideline, id. § 2B1.1(a)(2), which assigned a base offense level of 6, and then enhancing that to 12 for unlawfully producing means of identification from another means of identification, id. § 2B1.1(b)(11)(C)(ii), and for relocating a scheme to avoid detection or otherwise engaging in a scheme using sophisticated means, id. § 2B1.1(b)(10)(A), (b)(10)(C). The court then upped Greig’s offense level to 14 for possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the offense. Id. § 2B1.1(b)(14)(B). A two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice, id. § 3C1.1, took Greig to the final offense level of 16. Applying the rules of U.S.S.G. § 3D1.4 for determining the combined offense level, the judge took the higher group offense level of 32 (from group 1), which the court did not enhance by any levels because group 2 was more than 8 offense levels below group 1. The court then applied a three-level decrease for Greig’s acceptance of responsibility. Id. § 3E1.1. This brought the final -8- combined offense level to 29, which resulted in a Guidelines range of 87 to 108 months. After the judge made his calculation, the parties made their sentencing recommendations. The court also heard from five individuals who were family members of Bulger’s alleged victims,1 one of whom was also a former family member of Greig’s. The judge then handed down the sentence. He sentenced Greig to 96 months (eight years) in prison, three years of supervised release, and imposed a fine of $150,000. “

Imagine judges taking the time to engage in this silly foolishness of referencing, adding and subtracting. It was done to justify giving out the highest sentence any person ever received in the United States who had no criminal record and who engaged in a non-violent and non-drug related crime and who did not defraud any others of huge amounts of money.  Of course as we know Greig was dragged back to a grand jury and held in contempt and had years added on to an already incredible sentence.

The sad part of all of it is Whitey was the least culpable of all the major criminals who associated with him and testified for the government. None of their women who abetted them were ever charged.

Who needs guidelines when we have gobbledygook?

4 thoughts on “The Gobbledygookleness of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

  1. During my employment at the Department of Defense I reported well planned discrimination, promotion-fixing designed to cheat blacks and women our of merit-based promotions, rigged investigations, frame ups, retaliation and more to Huggard in his role as federal public corruption officer.

    What did he do?

    If you accurately guessed “nothing”, you are correct.
    Sworn & Commissioned Officer, Massachusetts Trial Court (Retired)
    Expert Government Witness

  2. This reminds me of a case I commented on here once before. I’d have to look up the details but basically a major contractor in the Boston area was indicted for massive (read:MILLIONS) tax evasion. He hired Steve Huggard who had just left the US attorney’s office where he was head of the public corruption unit. Huggard, knowing how this foolish game was played most likely advised his client that he needed to give somebody up. My guess is he went to his old Pals and most likely his former underlings and made a deal for his client (only after receiving a huge payment of course). The contractor went out and offered a bribe to the building inspector in Brockton, a 60 plus year old public servant. This was not an ongoing conspiracy that was interrupted. This was completely made up out of whole cloth to give the former assistant us attorney’s client a way out. He gave the guy $3,000 to choose him for a project to fix a statue in downtown Brockton. I guess everyone knows How This Ends. The building inspector in Brockton went to prison and the contractor with the connected attorney got off with probation. He didn’t even have to pay back the taxes if i recall correctly. Now that’s Justice!

  3. Matt, thank you again for your always thought provoking posts.
    1. The “identity-fraud” count against Catherine Grieg was a fraud. Everyone who flees changes their identity. If anything, sentencing on that count should have run concurrently.
    2. I did a little research: It’s interesting that 14 states exempt spouses from prosecution for harboring. At common law, spouses were exempt; of course, Grieg was Bulger’s common law “spouse” for all intents and purposes.
    3. In United States v. Oley, although upholding the right of the government to charge a wife with harboring her fugitive husband, the court remarked that “[i]t would undoubtedly be difficult to obtain a conviction charging wives with harboring their husbands” and that “it might be regarded as inhuman and unnatural on the
    part of a wife to surrender her husband to the authorities and contrary to
    the instincts of human beings to do so.”
    And in a Ninth Circuit case (“Hill”) the Court advised against prosecuting for “normal and expected spousal conduct.” Difficult to see that Grieg did anything but be a normal spousal companion to Jim Bulger. See generally: Markel, “Criminal Justice and the Challenge of Family Law.”
    4. What happened to Catherine Grieg and John Connolly are grotesque travesties of justice perpetrated by overly-zealous unscrupulous prosecutors and corruptly compliant “politically correct” judiciaries in Mass and Florida. The judicial system was on a jihad.
    5. Flemmi fled to Canada for @4-5 years; Martorano to Florida for @8 years, and no one “harbored” them?

  4. Based on my direct knowledge and experience certain Massachusetts agencies and the court system, in many cases, operates on the “rule of like”, not the “rule of law.”

    I can provide proper oversight and media overwhelming evidence to prove it.

    Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.
    Sworn & Commissioned Officer, Massachusetts Trial Court (Retired)
    Expert Government Witness on Retaliation, Rigged Investigations and More

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