Chicago is a city that has seen years of corruption, political and otherwise. It is a city that seems constantly displeased with its elected officials, as they cannot seem to stay within the boundaries of the law. One of the best examples of this is former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for putting a price on an open Senate seat. Just last month, the Supreme Court denied his appeal.
Blagojevich’s troubles began in 2008, when Barack Obama became the president elect and left behind an open Senate seat. The governor was accused of corruption, of seeking money and favors in exchange for the seat, and he was arrested on these charges. In the beginning, he denied the charges, but then wiretaps disclosed multiple conversations in which he discussed his illegal activities. For example, one recording heard him state that he was not involved in any illegal activity, to which someone responded “unless prospectively somebody gets you on a wire.” This clearly infers that Blagojevich could be found guilty of illegal acts if anyone were to hear him talk.
After his arrest, residents and politicians alike called for his resignation or removal from his position. As the governor, he remained in position to not only continue his duties, but also kept the authority to determine who would fill the Senate seat at issue. Ultimately, the governor received eighteen corruption convictions and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.
This is not the first time that Illinois has seen a corrupt politician, but the citizens of the state are hoping it may be the last. Blagoevich’s sentence of fourteen years may very well be a deterrent to politicians who are considering acting in ways that could get them into trouble. Additionally, it seems as though Blagojevich himself recognizes that what he did was wrong; he apologized publicly to the court, his family, and the residents of Illinois.
Despite his apology, the former governor appealed his convictions. The appeals court denied the appeal, stating that he crossed a line when he actively sought some form of compensation in exchange for the open Senate seat. After that, Blagojevich appealed to the Supreme Court, who turned it down on March 28, 2016. The reason for this appeal was new; Blagojevich claims that, because the federal appeals court threw five of the counts out, prosecutors would not be retrying him on them. As such, his chances for a retrial were taken away. He claimed that these facts made his case a “better candidate” for the Supreme Court, who ultimately did not agree. His appeal was denied without comment this week.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Lawyer
While this appeal was denied, every case is different. If you or someone you know is considering appealing a verdict, talking to a lawyer is an important step. There are many factors to think about, and an attorney can help you decide the best way to approach this. Contact Barney & Hourihane today to discuss your case with a dedicated Chicago attorney.