The Subway Guy Goes To Prison

The former spokesman for the Subway chain of sandwich shops sat in an Indianapolis courtroom Thursday morning waiting for the ax to fall on life as he knew it. Once worth fifteen million, Jared Fogle, who became famous for losing over 200lbs on a diet of Subway sandwiches and exercise, was about to plead guilty and be sentenced on charges related to his predilection for kiddie porn and young prostitutes.

After he entered his plea Jared’s lawyers called two witnesses. The first witness, a Canadian psychiatrist, testified by phone that Fogle exhibited “mild pedophilia”, a diagnosis which does not exist in U.S. according to the defense’s second witness, Dr Rick May.

The government then put a detective on the stand to read from some of Jared’s text messages where he was seeking to procure juveniles for sex. “Did you find some young girls or boys?” Fogle texted to an 18 year-old prostitute saying he would pay $400 for someone 16 or younger, more if their age could be documented.

The government and defense then sparred over the extent to which “the Subway guy” was culpable in the harm he caused and the danger he remains to children. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said Fogle did nothing to stop the child pornography created by his partner-in-crime and director of The Jared Foundation, Russell Taylor, but rather participated “enthusiastically”.

When it was the turn of the defense, Jeremy Margolis, argued that Jared “traded a horrible food addiction for a horrible sex addiction.” He said Fogle has seen the “crashing and burning of his life” but is committed to getting well.

Then it was Jared’s turn to address the court.

“Where do I even try to begin, your honor? For most of my adult life, I’ve been in the spotlight, trying to be a positive role model for others,” Fogle said. “I became dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes” he continued, apologizing to his victims as he wiped away a tear.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt went beyond the prosecutions recommendation of twelve and a half years saying, “the level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” imposing a sentence of 188 months.

In this last unfinished sketch Jared Fogle is seen removing his jacket, tie and belt before marshals handcuff him. He blew a kiss and waved to friends and family members before being led out of the courtroom.

Jared Fogle Plea & Sentencinga

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Class-Action and Tainted Assets

Umbrellas on the Supreme Court plaza yesterday morning, while inside I sketched two arguments.

The first argument, Tyson Foods v Bouaphakeo, concerned Iowa slaughterhouse workers and whether they could meet the test for a class-action lawsuit.  Lyle Denniston reports on it here.

In the second argument, Luis v. U.S., Sila Luis, who bilked Medicare for tens of millions of dollars and had her assets frozen, wants to be allowed to use the “untainted” portion of her frozen assets to pay for her Sixth Amendment guaranteed lawyer of her choice. SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe has the story here.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

A Common Theme?

The week before last – time flies, I’ve been busy – I went on the road to cover two hearings a few hundred miles apart though in some ways alike. Both defendants were at one time coaches, and both are suspected of sexual relations with young boys.

In Chicago former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing large withdrawals of cash. By doing so he avoided a trial and possible testimony from the victim he was paying off.

The next day, in Bellefonte, PA, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky appeared in court as his lawyer sought to challenge the grand jury investigation that led to the charges of child sexual abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in 2012.



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Redistricting and Three-Judge Panels

A dazzling fall morning on the Supreme Court plaza as spectators line up for oral arguments.

One of those arguments, Shapiro v. McManus, was about whether a lawsuit challenging Maryland redistricting should be decided by a three-judge panel. It’s a bit technical and I won’t attempt to explain. The New York Time’s Adam Liptak reports on the argument here.

Be sure to read to the end of Liptak’s article for the exchange between Maryland Assistant Attorney General Steven Sullivan and Justice Scalia on the topic of “little green men and extraterrestrials”.

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A Statuary . . I Mean Statutory Argument

“. . . under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward . . . “

Today’s argument in Lockhart v. United States turned on what Congress meant in a statute so poorly drafted Justice Alito gives it a “D”.

The petitioner in this case, Avondale Lockhart, was caught in a child pornography sting and pleaded guilty. At sentencing he faced a mandatory minimum ten-year enhancement because of a previous state conviction for attempted rape of his girlfriend. Lockhart argues that the sentencing enhancement only applies if the prior conviction was for an offense “. . . involving a minor or ward”, and that in the language quoted above “aggravated sexual abuse” and “sexual abuse” are qualified in the same as “abusive sexual conduct”. 

The lower courts, of course, found otherwise.

It sounded like a lively and perplexing argument, and I hear form some of the reporters present that Lockhart may win to some degree.

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Today’s SCOTUS Sketches

As arguments were about to begin today Chief Justice Roberts reminded lawyers of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s admonition to not look up at the courtroom clock. The reason, not the same as Rehnquist’s, was that the two clocks in the courtroom were showing different times, neither of which was correct, and the minutes hands were moving in stops and starts. It seems that, just like last year, setting the Court’s clocks back an hour at the end of Daylight Saving is no easy matter.

The Court heard two interesting arguments, neither of which I’ll comment on since I’m about as good at explaining as the Court is at setting a clock.

The first argument, Foster v Chatman :

. . . and the second argument, Spokeo v. Robins :

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Ahmed Abu Khatallah

It had been almost a year since the only suspect in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi appeared in court a couple weeks ago. Still looking very much like an Old Testament prophet, Khatallah took notes as defense lawyers asked a judge to throw out some of the charges against him.

The judge did not rule on the defense motions. No trial date has been set, nor has the government decided whether to seek the death penalty.

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A Couple Of Sentencing Arguments

Last week seems like a long time ago. I’ve been busy with some personal business – all good – and never got around to posting the sketches from last weeks arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana and Hurst v. Florida.

The first argument concerned inmates who as juveniles were automatically sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The Court three years ago, in Miller v. Alabamaruled that although juveniles could receive a life sentence it couldn’t be automatic. The issue here is whether that applies retroactively.

The second argument looked at the role of juries in determining sentence in Florida death penalty cases.


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An Extortion Conspiracy From Baltimore’s Finest

A couple sketches from Tuesday’s Supreme Court argument in Ocasio v. U.S.. The case case involves members of the Baltimore police who received kickbacks for steering business to Majestic Auto Repair. Arriving on the scene of an auto accident the officer would encourage the driver of a damaged vehicle to have it towed to Majestic. In exchange officers would receive a $150. referral fee, later upped to $300.

One of the officers, Samuel Ocasio, who was convicted of conspiracy under the Hobbs Act for obtaining of property “from another, with his consent, . . . under color of official right”, appealed, arguing that the statute requires that the alleged conspirators agree among themselves to obtain property “from another”—that is, from someone outside the conspiracy. Since the bribe came from Majestic, and they were part of the conspiracy, there was no conspiracy, so the argument goes.

Not sure the Justices bought it


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First Monday In October

The Supreme Court began its new term on a beautiful fall morning much appreciated after several grey days of wind and rain.

The argument heard was a case in which a woman, Carol Sachs, who while traveling on a Eurail Pass had suffered a horrible injury while boarding a train in Austria, is seeking to sue the European railway in U.S. courts. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act such a lawsuit is barred except  in commercial dealings. Because she bought her ticket in the United States, Sachs argues that her case falls under that exception.

SCOTUSblog’s analysis of the argument is here

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