Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that Scooter Libby is being sentenced today. Prior to the sentencing, friends of Libby submitted letters on his behalf and supprting leniency, and those letters have been made publicly available. I am not devoid of a sense of humor, so I recognize that letters from disgraced pols like Paul Wolfowitz in support of leniency can be unintentionally funny, but I am not going to partake in the mayhem.
A little story- I once worked in a probation office, and one of my chief responsibilities was pre-sentence investigations. When someone was convicted of a crime, it was my job to investigate them, interview them, and write up a detailed report for the court so that they could have some information prior to sentencing. Because of this, I also always attended the sentencing hearings in case any questions about my report would arise. Invariably at every sentencing hearing, even the lowest of the low would trot a bunch of people forward to tell the judge and everyone listening that the convicted was the nicest person this side of Mother Theresa.
After a few months of this, you get jaded. You spend hours with them, are intimate with their transgressions (molestation, child predation, etc.), and then have to suffer through all these people telling you how wonderful the pervert who has been convicted of raping a nine year old is and that the judge should be lenient.
Finally, I had enough one day and I was talking to the judge after the sentencing of one of the more obnoxious offenders, and I asked him- “Doesn’t it make you sick to hear all these people, week after week, vouching for these scum?”
The Judge (who is now on the State Supreme Court), looked at me and said- “I don’t see anything wrong with our system in which even the lowest of the low can have their friends and family vouch for them. If they don’t have their family, what do they have?”
He was right.