[This Letter to the Editor of December 8, 2008, by George Anastaplo, Professor of Law, Loyola University of Chicago, was published in The Greek Star, Chicago, Illinois, December 18, 2008, p. 3. An edited version of the Letter had been published in The Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2008, sec. 1, p. 53 (under the title, “Insanity defense?”). Mr. Blagojevich was sentenced, in December 2011, to 14 years in prison.]
Considerable information was provided by the United States Attorney upon the arrest Tuesday of our Governor for what has been called “a political corruption crime spree.” That information, if substantiated, is startling, especially considering how much has been common knowledge for years now about an ongoing investigation of this public servant.
If the United States Attorney does have the evidence he claims to have, then the most sensible legal defense on behalf of our unfortunate Governor against current criminal charges may be an insanity plea. How else can one account for the obviously self-destructive course that the Governor seems to have been following for several years now?
That is, is it not likely that our Governor is much more in need of therapy than of imprisonment? It can be hoped that the United States Attorney and the courts would respond compassionately to an insanity plea by a man who (it can also be hoped) is at least sensible enough to give up his much-abused office, if he has indeed attempted to do the remarkably thoughtless things he is charged with.