Following the outrageous sentence of 30 months dealt to Scooter Libby, Judge Walton is allowing him to remain free - for a short while. AP reports:
Walton did not set a date for Libby to report to prison. Though he saw no reason to let Libby remain free pending appeal, Walton said he would accept written arguments on the issue and rule later
Had he ruled that Libby be immediately jailed, President Bush would have faced immediate pressure to issue a pardon, something he is obviously not anxious to do, and for which he would no doubt receive a lot of flak.
It is obviously preferable that Libby's conviction be overturned during the appeals process. But subjecting him to imprisonment while the appeal is being heard would be unacceptable. A pardon, necessary to free him, would prevent the appeal from ever being heard.
I deeply fear that Judge Walton will accordingly send Libby to jail during the appeals process, thereby completing the chain of injustices surrounding this travesty of a legal proceeding, and forcing the President into an unpopular but necessary pardon.