Ryan ruling suggests uphill battle for appeal

December 21, 2010 6:35:42 PM PST
Even though a quick appeal of the ruling is being promised by former Governor George Ryan's lawyers, the 59-page ruling seems to leave little hope for a victory.

The optimistic spin coming from Ryan's legal team defies the decision itself -- a decision that is nearly a blanket rejection of all of the corrupt governor's arguments.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer's ruling is overloaded with words that indicate a Ryan appeal faces insurmountable odds.

While governor, Ryan received a "stream of benefits" intended to "influence his official action" and Ryan "accepted those benefits with the intent to be influenced."

Those were the words of Judge Pallmeyer in Tuesday's decision, restating what a federal jury determined in the guilty verdicts against the former governor. The jury, Pallmeyer wrote, "must have believed he received a bribe."

In the opinion, the judge used the term "deny" 16 times responding to Mr. Ryan's arguments; she found the government's positions "sufficient" on 19 occasions; and determined that any errors during the trial were harmless, a description she used 33 times in the decision.

Despite the slam-dunk rejection of Ryan's motions, Ryan attorney and ex-governor himself Jim Thompson said by phone from Paris that he was hopeful.

"The fact that she wrote a 59-page opinion demonstrates there is a substantial question and if you have raised a substantial question, the law says you out to be given bail."

The granting of bail during an appeal normally requires more than just a substantial question. Bail is usually set during the appeal process only if that appeal has a strong likelihood of success.

So while the appeals court could allow former Governor Ryan free on bail during the time justices decide his case, even Jim Thompson acknowledges that every decision so far has gone against him.


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