John Gleeson: Former rogue judge goes rogue again

John Gleeson is the former judge tasked by Emmet Sullivan, the judge in the Michael Flynn case, with talking him into sentencing Flynn in a case that the prosecution has moved to dismiss. One wonders whether any such “talking” is required, other than for the sake of appearances.

In any event, Gleeson today filed his brief. He argues that Judge Sullivan should reject the government’s motion and continue the prosecution to sentencing, notwithstanding the prosecutor’s desire to stand down.

Gleeson Brief by Techno Fog on Scribd

Gleeson had sketched out this argument in a Washington Post op-ed before Sullivan appointed him to brief the matter. Thus, the course of action Gleeson calls for in the brief comes as no surprise. Judge Sullivan got exactly what he wanted.

Even without the op-ed, Gleeson’s position was 100 percent foreseeable. He was a left-wing judge whose attitude towards crime depends on the identity of the alleged criminal. He favored leniency for street criminals but, it now seems, favors toughness for political enemies.

Also, as Bill Otis says, Gleeson has no appreciation of the distinction between judge and advocate. Thus, op-ed or not, he was always the perfect candidate to advise Judge Sullivan, who clearly wants to assume the role of advocate in the Flynn case.

In an article called “Defense Lawyer in a Robe,” Bill quoted the New York Times as follows:

Francois Holloway has spent nearly two decades of a 57-year sentence in a federal prison, for serious crimes that no one disputes he committed. There were armed carjackings, and his participation in an illegal chop shop, where stolen cars would be dismantled and sold for parts.

But the fairness of the mandatory sentence has been a matter of dispute, not only for Mr. Holloway, but also for a surprising and most effective advocate: the trial judge, John Gleeson.

Let that sink in. Judge Gleeson was an advocate for the defendant in a case before him. He thus violated the fundamental principle that a judge cannot decide a case in which he has been, much less in which he actively remains, an advocate.

As Bill explained:

It’s one thing for a trial judge, during the trial, to make it decently clear he finds one side more persuasive than the other. This is not recommended practice, but it often happens.

But it’s another for the judge, years after the case is over and the government’s position fully vindicated by the higher courts, including the Supreme Court, to use his office to go backdoor to achieve the outcome one side — the armed felon’s side — has wanted all along.

Yet, that’s what Gleeson did. Again, from the New York Times:

As Mr. Holloway filed one motion after another trying to get his sentence and his case re-evaluated, Judge Gleeson, of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, began to speak out against those mandatory sentences that he believed were unduly harsh. Mr. Holloway’s 57-year term was more than twice the average sentence in the district for murder in 1996, the year he was sentenced.

More recently, Judge Gleeson began his own campaign on Mr. Holloway’s behalf, writing to Loretta E. Lynch, who is the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to request that she vacate two of Mr. Holloway’s convictions.

The payoff from Judge Gleeson’s efforts will be apparent on Tuesday in a highly unusual hearing, when the judge is expected to resentence Mr. Holloway, who is 57, to time served.

Thus, Gleeson waged his own campaign, using his office and his power, to browbeat the local prosecutor, who regularly appears in his court, into asking for charges to be dropped against a repeat, armed felon whom the prosecutor’s office properly convicted at a trial many years before. Gleeson then granted the request for a reduced sentence for which he had tirelessly advocated.

As Bill put it:

Having blackjacked the US Attorney into going along with a legally baseless motion to vacate two convictions whose validity is not even questioned (so as to get to the desired dumbed-down sentence), Gleeson then goes ahead and presides over the hearing himself.

[Y]ou might think Gleeson would have at least the decency to allow a different judge to decide the motion to vacate.

Wrongo. Gleeson’s whole gig might get spoiled if a judge who hadn’t prejudged this ginned-up motion — you know, a neutral judge — were able to decide it. So he put it on his own docket to insure that no hint of neutrality crept in.

Who is John Gleeson? He’s a former rogue judge and current accomplice to a judge who, it appears, also wants to go rogue.

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