Bernard Kerik served his country as a military police officer in the United States Army. He then served as a police officer with the NYPD. He was appointed as Commissioner of Corrections by Mayor Giuliani, and then served as Police Commissioner under Mayor Giuliani. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Minister of Interior to Iraq following the U.S.-led invasion. He is a highly decorated soldier, highly decorated police officer and has been in law enforcement for over 35 years.
Mr. Kerik is now going to prison for allowing contractors to work on his house who also had contracts with the city? Sound ludicrous? It did to me as well.
His case demonstrates how criminal justice can run amok when led by judges who have no regard for the Constitution and prosecutors who have no respect for the rule of law.
First of all, I believe that Mr. Kerik was treated unfairly by the courts, and in particular, by Justice Stephen Robinson. Here are a few reasons I believe this happened to Mr. Kerik.
(1) Vital exculpatory evidence was withheld from Mr. Kerik's attorney during discovery that would, almost certainly, have freed Mr. Kerik.
(2) Even though federal court and the New York court represents two distinctly different jurisdictions, When Mr. Kerik was punished in the New York court and paid a fine, his instant offense should have been declared duly adjudicated. I do not believe you will find very many instances where individuals were punished in a state court and then tried again in a federal court for the same offense, after having been PUNISHED already by a lower court. Even though this does not constitute 'double jeopardy' because of the separate jurisdictions, it is still highly irregular and merits serious scrutiny by a judicial oversight committee perhaps a Senate inquiry.
(3) It is my believe that Mr. Kerik was punished in return for a future judicial appointment, possibly even to the U.S. Supreme Court, for Justice Robinson. While this is purely subjective, at this point, if evidence emerges that Justice Robinson entered into a verbal agreement to this end, it would be an embarrassing case of judicial misconduct as well as malfeasance of character, a disbarring offense, for Justice Robinson.
(4) Federal courts urge state courts to follow federal sentencing guidelines. When a justice exceeds a recommended sentence by 20% he/she is required to write an explanation as to why an excessive sentence was warranted. In Mr. Kerik's case, Justice Robinson exceeded the federal sentencing guidelines by 18 months, from 30 months to 48 months. Why was such a sentence warranted in what should have amounted to a civil case in the first instance, and in the second instance HAD ALREADY BEEN ADJUDICATED IN A STATE COURT??? Not only did Justice Robinson exceed the federal sentencing guidelines, but his sentence was 3 times greater than the 20%, or, a full 60% above the recommended federal sentencing guidelines! I might understand it if this were a violent crime or if Mr. Kerik had prior felonies, but such was not the case here. Mr. Kerik's only previous court action was the instant offense. The case had already been adjudicated by a lower court, and therefore, should not have been entered into the sentencing matrix by Justice Robinson as an extenuating factor. Therefore, Justice Robinson has no justifiable basis from which to have ordered such a sentence. This action alone should merit the ordering of a new sentencing hearing upon appeal.
(5) Justice Robinson had already uttered inflammatory and disparaging remarks regarding Mr. Kerik PRIOR to seating himself as the judge in Mr. Kerik's trial. Justice Robinson should have recognized his own personal bias and recused himself from this case since he had already demonstrated his inability to act objectively. Instead, he allowed his own personal feelings to cloud his judgment, and justice ran amok, before, during, and after Mr. Kerik's trial. (a) Before, during discovery (b) during, by directing that witnesses having exculpatory testimony be prevented from testifying on Mr. Kerik's behalf, and (c) after, at sentencing, at which time Justice Robinson exceeded the Federal Sentencing Guidelines by 60%, from 30 to 48 months.
(6) Justice Robinson further demonstrated his bias by seeking to have Mr. Kerik's attorney's REMOVED FROM THE CASE during the most critical point of the trial, at the precise point when Mr. Kerik needed his counsel the most! Justice Robinson's actions at this point are unconstitutional as well as unethical.
(7) Finally, the federal courts may not have standing, as no crime occurred in Washington, D.C. All of Mr. Kerik's admissions of guilt, which were all to misdemeanors at the time of his admissions of guilt, occurred in the state of New York.
In all of my years studying the American criminal justice system, I have never witnessed a more blatant disregard for the rule of law or the United States Constitution. While the court's actions in Mr. Kerik's case may have been legal, they were certainly unethical, highly irregular, and clearly demonstrative of personal bias on the part of the judge in the case. Had this happened to a young black male, Harvard law graduate, there is no doubt there would be cries of discrimination (and rightly so), on the part of every civil liberties group in America. However, because the case in point involves a white male conservative Republican, every civil liberties group in America has turned their collective backs on Mr. Kerik,. . . and that is just shameful. . . absolutely shameful!!!
This court has disgraced the judicial branch of government and cast a dark pall over people who are not a members of some minority group from ever enjoying the same level of civil liberties as their minority citizen counterparts. It is appalling to me, especially, that it was allowed to happen to a highly decorated soldier in the United States Army, a highly decorated police officer with numerous citations for valor and courage under fire, an American ambassador who served these United States in a foreign country in a hostile fire area during a time of extreme crisis, and finally, as an American citizen and father of four children and a respected member of his community. What a travesty of justice!!! And over what? A contractor that may or may not have received special treatment by a city government??? You've GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!
I'm outraged that this grave injustice is being allowed to go unchecked. It shakes my confidence in the American criminal justice system and causes me to issue a warning to rogue, activist judges in the future who are simply trying to make a name for themselves. When this government, or any government, fails in its primary responsibility of protecting its citizens and ensuring that every citizen accused of a crime enjoys the right to a fair and speedy trial; then the citizens of this country will rise up and take the law into their own hands. I do not wish for this country to return to the days of vigilante justice, but in light of such blatant judicial misconduct. . . it just might.