Chuck Turner (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) faced the federal judge yesterday. Finally, after listening to lord knows how many hours from the Defendant, the judge got to have his say. It was sentencing day for the Defendant. The final act of the recent federal trial during which a jury found him guilty of white collar crmes
The defense argued for leniency for the 70-year-old civil rights crusader. They pointed to his four decades of service as a community activist and elected official…aside from whatever other corruption one might assume took place during those years. They appealed to the court to give the Defendant probation, allowing him to avoid obligatory government housing altogether.
The prosecutors suggested a prison term of 33 to 41 months. They argued that the Defendant lied on the witness stand (aka perjury) and that he made a mockery of public office and the criminal justice system.
The Defendant was convicted in October of attempted extortion and three counts of providing false statements to FBI agents. He protested his innocence then and does so now. He blames his conviction on a government conspiracy to discredit elected officials of African-American descent.
The Defendant’s mouth was getting him into trouble even before the trial. I remember that, while his attorney was doing his best to keep options open regarding whether his client would testify, the Defendant was making promises that he would indeed testify. It got so bad that the lawyer had to just about label him as unreliable from there on.
Of course, after the Defendant testified, I understood why the attorney wanted to keep the issue close to his vest. Instead, I was scratching what little hair I have left trying to figure out why, other than a bad case of megalomania, the Defendant wanted to testify.
At sentencing, the Judge Woodlock did not mince words. He called the Defendant’s testimony at trial “ludicrous and surreal.”
“The defendant perjured himself at trial,” he said. “He stated things he knew were not true. … No one forced him to testify.”
Still, the Defendant remained defiant after the sentencing, calling the case an example of “prosecutors gone wild.”
The bottom line, however, was delivered by the court. Three years behind bars. The Defendant reports in March to start serving his sentence.
I am not only a Boston criminal defense attorney with 25 years of experience in the criminal justice system, I am also a father. I have two kids. One of them is currently 12-years-old. He is very much into Hip Hop and Rap music.
This has caused issues from time to time. For example, perhaps since he was around 5 or 6, he insisted on wearing t-shirts to school that were provocative and celebrated his favorite entertainers. Suffice to say, said shirts caught attention of teachers and principals and not in the best ways.
I remember an adult friend of the family finally asking him, “Why don’t you just wear a t-shirt with a big middle finger on it. Wouldn’t that be easier?”
I thought it was funny then, but it made the point. The point, however, is lost on the Defendant.
I don’t know whether the Defendant was really guilty or not. However, I do know that he was convicted by a jury and until an appeals court strikes those convictions down, he will be presumed guilty by the system.
It therefore may not be in his best interest to continue to “thumb his nose” at the powers that be…like the judge. Remember, in federal court, things like acceptance of responsibility factors into sentencing. Virtually communicating “up yours!” to the judge and prosecutors at sentencing is a good way to get sentenced to more time not less.
I am always telling you to hire experienced counsel to represent you. Perhaps I should spend as much time explaining what I have assumed to be a given. Namely, listen to that lawyer!
If you want to listen to me, feel free to call me for a free initial consultation. I can be reached at t 617-492-3000.
To view the original story, and charming photograph about which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/01/turner_convicte.html?p1=News_links