Now the government is trying to get a federal judge to sentence 3 public officials convicted of corruption to up to 150 years in prison. The defendants went to trial and were convicted, though they had very fine lawyers. But what the government is doing is trying to impose a “trial penalty” imprisonment sentence. The government wants everyone to plead guilty, and to accomplish this, their tactic is to seek absurd sentences so that “the next guy” will be more willing to plead and cooperate, instead of exercising his constitutional right to make the government prove him guilty.
Already in the federal sentencing scheme — advisory guidelines — a defendant gets 2 to 3 levels’ reduction in his or her sentencing guidelines just by pleading guilty. This is not enough for some prosecutors though — they want to hurt those people just because they believe in the Constitution.