Senator Ted Stevens declared yesterday in a debate that “I have not been convicted.” And never mind that he was convicted of seven felonies.
I can think of two explanations for his logic: hes clinically insane; or, hes so confident his convictions will be reversed on appeal that he considers them as good as reversed already. Or, I suppose, both.
Assuming the second explanation, his confidence is well-placed, I think. Our appellate courts are extremely reluctant to uphold the conviction of anybody whos demographically like the average judge: white, male, middle-aged or older, and part of the governing class.
If I remember right, Oliver North said during his Virginia senatorial campaign that he hadnt been convicted, since a federal appeals court had reversed his conviction (on grounds that have, ever since, handicapped mob and gang prosecutions around the country). So theres a precedent for Stevens position.
Stevens will be appealing his conviction to the same D.C. Circuit court that recently intervened in the presidential campaign by sparing the GOP potential embarrassment regarding congressional subpoenas to Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolton. The panel consisted of the pot-smoking Reagan Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsburg and G.H.W. Bush appointee and Ford Administration assistant solicitor general Arthur Randolph.
Their purported reason for refusing to decide the case is that the Republicans might take control of Congress, mooting the entire issue. (Although, being judges, they phrased it in a more roundabout way.) To justify their position, they first had to (nearly) run out the clock on the current Congress.
I think Stevens is correct in assuming that the D.C. Circuit will do everything it can to reverse his jurys verdicts. In the meantime, were treated to the entertaining spectacle of Alaskanas rallying around their highest-ranking federal official with t-shirts saying, “Fuck the feds.” So far as the Anchorage Daily News article reveals, they apparently exempted one particular formerly-influential fed from their sexual threat.
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