Thomas Drake Gets Probation, Community Service; Judge Slams Feds For Prosecution

from the threat-to-our-country? dept

The fed's ridiculously vindictive legal attack on Thomas Drake for whistleblowing is now basically over. Late Friday, a judge sentenced Drake to 1-year probation and 240 hours of community service. As you may recall, the fed's case against Drake completely fell apart, just as the trial was to get underway, in part due to a lot of press coverage of just how ridiculous the lawsuit was. It was never, as the government implied, about leaking classified information. It was always a vindictive attack on Drake for pointing out massive amounts of waste at the NSA.

In the plea deal that Drake agreed to, prosecutors agreed not to ask for jail time, even though he could have received up to a year in jail (significantly lower than the 3 or so decades he was facing under the original charges). The prosecutors did ask for a $50,000 fine though. And they didn't get it. In fact, the judge scolded prosecutors for the whole case:
Judge Bennett said the government's decision to back away from its case on the eve of trial was "extraordinary," and added that he was particularly troubled by the 2 and year time lapse from when federal agents first searched Mr. Drake's home to when he was charged. "It was not proper. It doesn't pass the smell test," the judge said.
Of course, it didn't pass the smell test because the whole thing smelled rotten. Thankfully, it ended on a somewhat positive note, though it's still ridiculous that Drake received any punishment at all.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Plea bargains

    I've always felt that these were dodgy - we don't really have them in the UK although you do get some sentence reduction if you plead guilty. If he'd not made the deal I guess he might have avoided punishment altogether - but at some risk...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:26am

    Re: Plea bargains

    As one lawyer said to me a few years back, when you involve as many people in our legal system as we do in the States, plea bargains are essential. They shorten the amount of time one spends in court (if any time is spent before settling at all), they streamline the sentencing process, and the clear out some of the backlog of cases.

    In short, the American justice (snicker) system can only run if one of the following is true:

    - A relatively small number of people ever enter that system

    - You have plea bargains to speed everything up

    If you disallowed plea bargains and/or settlements, our legal system would come to a grinding halt, which is disgusting....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    AJ, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re: Plea bargains

    IANAL-IMO

    I guess if your guilty, plea bargains can save the people quite a bit of time and money to try your case. So it's worth it to the people/government to give you a break to get that savings..

    But if your innocent, its seems that it would be a lot like the extortion letters you get from companies like Righthaven. You may be innocent, but it would be less damaging financially and/or not worth the risk to play it out in the courts. Do you want to risk 30 years in jail, or do you want community service? Doesn't really seem fair, and it seems to get abused all the time, but it's what we have i guess....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Plea bargains

    But if your innocent, its seems that it would be a lot like the extortion letters you get from companies like Righthaven. You may be innocent, but it would be less damaging financially and/or not worth the risk to play it out in the courts. Do you want to risk 30 years in jail, or do you want community service? Doesn't really seem fair, and it seems to get abused all the time, but it's what we have i guess....

    Exactly. I know a woman (my friend's niece) who is a registered sex offender for having sex with a minor. The only problem is that the teenager forced himself on her while she was drunk and then apparently bragged to his friends that he'd screwed her. When his parents found out, he said that she seduced him and the parents had her arrested. She took a plea bargain for a year in prison rather than risk losing a jury trial.

    She's a very sweet, subdued woman whose only real fault is that she drinks too much, and now she's know as a child molester because a teenager raped her, lied about it and a plea bargain was the best chance she had of not spending a decade or more in prison.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    sumquy (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Plea bargains

    that's a horrible story. by the way, what was she doing drinking with a bunch of teenagers. not saying she deserved what she got, but at the same time, if you play with fire, chances are high that at some point you are going to get burned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Plea bargains

    "If you disallowed plea bargains and/or settlements, our legal system would come to a grinding halt ..."

    which could be a good thing ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Feds

    I hope no one is surprised by this. All governments are vindictive! ALL government agencies are wasteful! It's a game they play. Every agency wants more money every year to do their "important" work. Now, for sure, the NSA is important. But there are more government agencies than you can imagine. And if you missed it, a butt-load of your tax dollars just got flushed by our government in creating and prosecuting this case. The only solution is to vote ALL sitting politician out of office and, essentially, starting over. Vote Obama out first!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Boost (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Plea bargains

    You guys both need to learn the difference between your and you're.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    PoluN, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re: Feds

    Nulop,

    Funny, your George Bush did this, that lazy prick put this Country back into the dark ages.

    And you have the gaul to blame Obama, No, the problem is you right winged idiots that have used laws like this for your own personal vendetta towards society, it dosnt work anymore.

    What a idiot you are, just like Bush, a retard with no mentality, you csn only point fingers and not take responsibility, and your so called solutions are extreme and hurt the country and it's people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    A Monkey with Attitude (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Feds

    so why is you if we don't agree with No-bama..a person has to like G.Bush? Seriously if that is all you have to offer you already lost...
    And why is it those who support him start off with name calling and labeling... is everything a label? Do you have to have a label?

    IMO this is the first half that is wrong with the country.. your more married to a D or R than an idea of freedom, you sacrifice for a letter that means nothing if the people wearing it do not hold to the values of it.

    Bush and Obama are pretty much the same brand of socialistic / totalitarian tripe... They just change the letter by their name...

    I can't wait for the day that the rest of the 51% of DI's (Damn Independents) give both parties a finger and start working on solutions....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Plea bargains

    "what was she doing drinking with a bunch of teenagers"

    For all the post states, she may not have been.

    "not saying she deserved what she got, but at the same time, if you play with fire, chances are high that at some point you are going to get burned."

    What you seem to be saying is that if someone gets drunk then they should expect to be raped.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Feds

    i like to look at them as being opposing sides of the exact same coin.
    they may look different, they may say different things on them, but no matter how many times you flip it over nor how many different ways you look at it... its the same coin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Feds

    That's coming very soon. It's amazing but even Fox news has picked up the story how much steam the Libertarian party is getting. IIRC, the fact remains that voting problems continue to plague the political process. Take down one peg in the problems of progress, and you can have a more fair society. It's just focusing on the root of the problems in my view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:00am

    Whistleblowers and Retaliators

    Lets see now, Thomas Drake blew the whistle on waste and corruption of over a billion dollars. The bad guys never got punished. But they retaliated against Thomas Drake. He got punished, not as much as the bad guys would like, but some.

    Score: bad guys = 1, Thomas Drake = 0. You Americans are so screwed. Your legal system has utterly failed to deliver justice, or anything like it. This is a massive green light for waste and corruption. Expect more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    SJS, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:11am

    Re: Feds

    No, governments aren't vindictive.

    People are vindictive. Governments have power (by necessity) that is abused by vindictive people; see also the law of unintended consequences.

    Further, to claim that governments are wasteful is misleading. Governments come with a lot of overhead costs, yes. There will be a certain amount of waste, but there are also economies of scale, so for a government to be "wasteful", the benefits of the economies of scale must fall significantly short of the overhead costs.

    One must beware calls for immediate major change, in politics as well as in code -- does anyone really think that a voting public that is so easily led by mere money and so stupid so as to keep electing the same corrupt officials back into office will suddenly choose to elect honest men and women of integrity to office merely by voting out incumbents? Will the moneyed interests let the unfunded and untried run unopposed?

    Really?

    If you still think that after five minutes of sober reflection, it's time to put down the crack pipe.

    As for voting Obama out first -- he's not the one trying to tank the economy in a fit of pique. With an honest Congress, the president is pretty much irrelevant, and it's pretty obvious that it's Congress that's disfunctional, as well as *what* part of Congress is simply crazy.

    But if you give me a candidate who will prosecute, convict, and hang the officially-sanctioned torturers and their bosses, I'll happily vote for them. Because if we're going to be vindictive, we should start with our own monsters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Plea bargains

    that's a horrible story. by the way, what was she doing drinking with a bunch of teenagers.

    She wasn't. It was her neighbor's son. As I recall they were friends, she was drinking outside at night, he came over, they talked for a while, she went in the house for something, he followed her in and raped her. She's not a confrontational type person, so she didn't report it. Once the charges were filed, it was his word against hers and most people will automatically believe a minor over an adult where sex is involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    if the "bad" guys didn't get charged, but he did, then hes the "bad" guy, not them, they seemed to not have done anything wrong

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Squid Lips, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Feds

    It's a good thing we've got you to represent the left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This