Rubashkin down but not out

Sholom Rubashkin
Sholom Rubashkin

It would seem that the fate of Shalom Rubashkin is going to take another twist. Convicted of fraud charges by Judge Linda Reade and sentenced to 27 years incarceration, Rubashkin and his supporters were highly critical of the severity of the sentencing and had always claimed from the outset that he was being targeted.

Well its seems that they were not far off the mark. According to documents, Judge Reade personally participated in many aspects of the original raids and prosecution “game plan” nearly from its planning inception in October, 2007 some six months before the raid and long before the ultimate trial of Rubashkin before her. Her continuous week-to-week involvement in the organization of the raid and ultimate prosecution was not disclosed to defense counsel or a House Judiciary Sub-Committee during hearings on the matter.

The revelations have caused Rubashkin’s attorneys, Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin of Washington D.C. and Guy Cook of Des Moines, to file emergency court papers  demanding a new trial and the immediate recusal of Judge Reade.

Legal experts say that recusal standards demand that a judge must disqualify himself or herself “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” and goes on to assert, “what matters is not the reality of bias or prejudice but its appearance.” Moreover, the legal standards and case law do not require an average person to be “convinced” of a conflict, but merely “harbor doubts about the judge’s impartiality.” Rubashkin’s attorneys have quoted these standards and case law decisions in their demand for a new trial and the recusal of the judge.

Acquitted of all of the original charges relating to employing  illegal immigrants and under age workers, Rubashkin found himself at the stiff end of a sentence that most in the legal system condemned as excessive. The revelations of the these documents as to the in depth involvement of the judge who ultimately sentenced him, will now no doubt raise questions as to the underlying need to punish regardless of the crime and certainly raise the issue of antisemitism as a contributing factor to her harsh dealing with Rubashkin.

His possible guilt in the matters of fraud will now be secondary to the trouble brewing as a consequence of  Judge Reade’s vehement need to prosecute.


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