Monday, February 20, 2006
Perhaps one of the saddest cases of last year was that of Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, who plead guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges related to approximately $2.4 million in bribes and benefits. (see here) From a position on the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, to now being a convicted felon facing sentencing, is a huge fall in power and prestige. Despite this extraordinary collateral consequence, according to the Washington Post here the government wants him to do ten (10) years in prison. They claim that he engaged in witness tampering and fabricating evidence.
Individuals with power who face criminal charges often think they can find their way out of the mess by using their power. Unfortunately, in many instances this can aggravate the case against them. Obstruction of justice, false statements, and perjury charges are common when a person is struggling to save themselves from an indictment. It is sad to watch those with significant problems make matters worse because of irrational acts made in last minute efforts to survive the oncoming storm.
Clearly the criminality is wrong. But does this non-violent conduct warrant a sentence of ten (10) years?