In a decision announced on June 21, 2007, the US Supreme Court in Rita v. United States upheld as reasonable under federal sentencing law a prison sentence of 33 months for the offense of perjury committed in testimony to a grand jury, which is virtually the same sentence imposed on Scooter Libby for the same offense.
The defendant Victor Rita was a 25-year military veteran with 35 commendations, awards and medals for his military service, and in poor medical condition. He contended that the length of his prison term was unreasonable in light of his exemplary service to the country and his health circumstances. The Supreme Court granted review in order to examine and clarify the issue of how to determine the reasonableness of a prison sentence.
Twelve days after the Supreme Court held as a matter of law that a sentence of 33 months of prison for perjury was reasonable for a decorated veteran in poor health, the president, whose sworn duty is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, commuted Scooter Libby's similar sentence for the same offense as "excessive". The federal Sentencing Guidelines say that 33 months is the recommended minimum sentence for the crime of perjury, with the recommended range being 33-41 months. According to the nation's president, however, the Sentencing Guideline for this is too harsh.
Victor Rita's sentence should be commuted, don't you think?
Indeed we do.