Monica Conyers, former Detroit City Councilwoman and wife of Judiciary Chairman John Conyers was sentenced to 37-month prison term for birbery — a sentence that has been challenged by some on the city council as too light, here.
Conyers herself denounced the sentence and vowed to withdraw her guilty plea in light of the decision by U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn. That may be difficult. Courts usually do not allow for post-sentence regrets. The media is reporting that Conyers unleashed a tirade in court, screaming “I’m appealing this case” because Cohn had “no right to do that.”
In fact, the court does have that right. Conyers signed a plea that “waives any right to appeal her conviction or sentence” as long as Cohn sentenced her to five years or less. More importantly, that is just an appeal — not a plea withdrawal. The latter is far more difficult in terms of getting that cat to walk backwards for defendants.
Thus far, the investigation in Detroit powerbrokers has netted 10 guilty pleas.
The sentence is on the low end for corruption convictions generally. It is surprising that she expected something far less — this was slightly about half of the range in the plea. Few judges would have felt comfortable sentencing in the lower half of a plea range in such a public corruption case — particularly for the first person sentenced in the scandal.
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