Saturday, July 16, 2011

Judge McCafferty's Sentencing Memorandum

The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest paper and reporter Jim McCarty provide us with details from the government's sentencing memorandum in the case of Judge Bridget McCafferty (pic) slated to be sentenced in US District Court in Akron Monday on multiple convictions for lying to the FBI in their investigation into influence-peddling and bribery of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) judges. This is McCarty's account, it suggests that the Judge had some dark secrets (don't we all?):

Federal prosecutors have accused former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty of intervening on behalf of her boyfriend, an employee of the county auditor's office, after he was caught working out in a gym and hanging out at a tavern during work hours.

Prosecutors also accuse her of misleading the Ohio Supreme Court about her backlog of cases, lying to a Plain Dealer reporter and misrepresenting her academic credentials on a campaign website. The new allegations are included in a memorandum that prosecutors filed late Friday with U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi. The memo argues that McCafferty deserves time behind bars for lying to the FBI agents investigating corruption in county government.

"The false statements to law enforcement was part of a pattern of improper conduct by [McCafferty] and not an aberrant act by an otherwise completely honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizen," the memorandum states.

Prosecutors have not charged McCafferty based on any of their latest allegations, including the aid she gave to her boyfriend. A jury found her guilty in March of lying to the FBI about unethical conversations she had with then-Auditor Frank Russo, then-County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and construction executive Steven Pumper.

The man is identified only as Public Employee 41 in the memorandum. But the description fits that of Patrick McDermott, 53, of Lakewood, who once lived in McCafferty's home in Westlake, according to property records.

After McDermott was observed at the gym and the Parkview Nite Club (a legendary dive bar featured on the Food Network located) on West 58th Street in Cleveland, his supervisor reported the problem to Russo, a close friend of McCafferty's, according to prosecutors. Russo encouraged the supervisor to "go easy" on McDermott as a favor to McCafferty, the memorandum states. McCafferty subsequently called the supervisor and accused him of having a vendetta against her boyfriend. She downplayed McDermott's absences by explaining that he arrived early for work and spent a significant amount of his time in the field, the memo states.

McCafferty "used her position and her influence to influence personnel decisions in the auditor's office," the memo states. "As a common pleas judge, she should have no role in [McDermott's] dispute with his supervisor." McCafferty's lawyer, Michael Murray, did not return a call seeking comment.
Other accusations that prosecutors intend to present at the sentencing include:
  • In 2010, McCafferty under-reported by hundreds the number of civil cases pending in her courtroom. She told the Supreme Court that she had 356 cases. But after she was indicted and suspended from her job, and her staff filled out the reports, prosecutors found she actually had 629 civil cases on her docket. McCafferty "always wanted to have the lowest number of active cases as she was worried that The Plain Dealer would write a story about her docket," the memorandum reads.
  • She made false statements to The Plain Dealer that were published Sept. 24, 2008, saying she knew nothing about the FBI search of her court offices the night before.
  • She falsely claimed on her campaign website that she graduated summa cum laude from Miami University. She later removed the claim after The Plain Dealer reported the school had no evidence to back it up, and McCafferty could provide no proof of the high honor.
McCafferty is among nearly 50 elected officials, government employees and contractors implicated in the biggest corruption investigation in county history. Russo has pleaded guilty to 21 corruption-related crimes and faces 22 years in prison. Dimora faces racketeering charges but denies wrongdoing. He is scheduled for trial in January.
This former Judge (or "Disgraced Judge" as the Plain Dealer has taken to calling her) is in huge trouble as it relates to her sentencing which is scheduled Monday. The betting among my friends in and around Cleveland is that she's looking at 7 to 10 years.

McCafferty alienated the sentencing judge by filing a frivolous new trial motion which Judge Lioi slammed in a ruling last week as being filled with exaggerations and utterly without merit. Ex-judge McCafferty is an elected former public official caught on surveillance tape doing unethical favors for politicians. And yet, the thing is McCafferty did not commit an underlying crime. McCafferty's offense is solely that she lied to the FBI. Had she welcomed the FBI into her chambers when they came to investigate her role in the influence peddling by her political bosses and had she informed the agents that she would say NOTHING unless counsel was present, she would still be a sitting Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge....undisgraced. This former judge ranks up there with those amazing elected officials who astound by reason of STUPIDITY. 

By the way, want to find out what a lousy person you are? Let our government do a sentencing memorandum on you. I found out for the first time, ever, that my wife was surreptiously providing me with a "luxury car," to wit: an 8 year old Volvo SUV with nearly 200,000 miles on it...aka, our family car. Nothing in my government's sentencing memorandum mentions the part where at 17 years of age I volunteered and served honorably for 3 years in a combat tank unit during the years at the end of the Viet Nam War (albeit, my unit was stationed in Germany 1972-1975.) During these years the government couldn't give away Cadillacs to get young men to enlist in the military but I went fully cognizant that I'd end up in Southeast Asia. In McCafferty's sentencing memorandum we learn, inter alia, that she brazenly tried to protect her loved one. How dare she! Seriously, she pulled strings for her boyfriend . . . this makes it into the government's sentencing memorandum?

Look, I'm not defending this Judge; but, I find the whole scenario astounding. A former Judge who committed no underlying crime apart from lying about something she was justifiably embarrassed about and which should have resulted in ethics action, may go to prison for 10 years or more, because she covered-up phone conversations that amounted to really nothing. Unethical, yes. 10 years???

[Note: Cleveland.com is reporting that the sentencing scheduled for Monday, July 18th has been moved to August.]
[Note: I apologize for the formatting issues which are vexing this post]

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3 comments:

  1. This blog was never intelligent but lately it has become as sad as your life. Hurry up an revert to type, would you, so you can go back in and shut it down for a few more months. You're like the crazy guy on the corner who thinks everyone is listening to the content.

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  2. I think Bridget is a fine Judge and a very nice lady.I would vote for her I dont think she did anything wrong.Except end up on the wrong side However now she knows that prosecutors will do ANYTHING to win. Justice has nothing to do with it .The system is screwed

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