Chicagoans react to Blago sentence

December 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Judge James Zagel sentenced Blagojevich to 168 months in prison on Wednesday afternoon, the second longest ever delivered in a federal corruption case in Chicago. Blagojevich will have to surrender to officials on February 16, 2012.

Frank's Barber Shop sits one block away from the Dirksen Federal Building where the former governor received his term Wednesday afternoon.

Forrest Nash sat under the clippers Thursday morning feeling a little sorry for the fallen politician, but he said he believed an apology from Blagojevich wouldn't change much.

"I don't think it makes much of a difference either way if he apologizes. Certainly, as a public servant, he let a lot of people down, but I don't think an apology would really affect anything," said Nash.

After having a night to sleep on the news, people had time to process the punishment. The breakfast crowd at Lou Mitchell's in the Loop watched the coverage Wednesday and read the headlines Thursday morning. Some feel the sentence is fair, and then there are those who believe it's somewhat harsh.

"I think it's a little stiff, seeing as how it is rampant everywhere. [They] kinda gotta start making an example out of somebody," said Guy Coglianese.

"I think it is good because you know people can't keep stealing and doing things and getting away with em," said Heather Miller.

Attorney Sam Adam Jr. -- who represented Blagojevich in his first trial -- says the 14-year sentence is too harsh and won't accomplish much.

"If you are going to have a system where contracts can be given out by politicians, we're going to have a problem. Look at drugs. They have, for years , said we're going to give harsh sentences for drugs. It hasn't stopped one bit of drugs from coming over the border or Illinois. This is no different. All it will do is up the price on what a politician wants to give out for a contract, and it's going to occur," said Adam.

He also points out that the maximum penalty in Illinois for reckless homicide is 14 years. Adam believes the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will have to take a good look at whether the Blagojevich sentence was justified.

Many Illinois taxpayers seem to have awakened Thursday feeling like their general sense of public trust had eroded even more than before and that the state's reputation for crooked politics keeps getting reinforced -- sentence by sentence.

"I love my state. I love Illinois. I love living in Chicago, but when it comes to politics, it's hard to trust politicians. You kind of get the feeling who can you trust?" said Steven Davis .

After the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Rod Blagojevich signed autographs outside his Ravenswood Manor home. Many people speaking with ABC7 said they did not like that and that Blagojevich "still just doesn't get it."

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