Canarypunk: Jim Bell in a coalmine

Greg Broiles gbroiles at
Sun Aug 17 21:13:32 PDT 1997

>Okay. So we know that Bell has pled, and he's in there for a while.
>How long until he gets out, now?
>Has he moved to another facility?
>Is all this moot because he's admitting to something which is not related
>to his activities on this list? If I remember, his A/P rant here was still
>pretty central to the Feds' case, right?

As far as I can tell from what I've read on the list, Jim has plead guilty
but will not be sentenced until sometime in October. (November?)

In the interim period, he'll be interviewed pretty extensively by a federal
probation officer, who will prepare a presentencing report which discusses
Jim's attitude(s), prior conviction(s), drug/alcohol use, family
status/influences, work history, etc. The presentence report is supposed to
provide a context (for better or worse) into which the conviction(s) and
sentence are placed. Jim and his attorney are supposed to get a chance to
review the presentence report and object to it or supplement it before
sentencing. This is a part of the process where it's possible that Jim is
about to get screwed, because in large part this is one big litmus test re
"bad attitude" (towards authority), which Jim had at one time, and quite
possibly still has. 

The sentence he recieves will depend upon the federal sentencing
guidelines; the guidelines will provide a range of months for incarceration
and/or probation, depending on the offense level of the crime(s) he plead
to and his criminal history (which appears to be relatively minimal, e.g.,
a previous guilty plea re possession of a precursor to methamphetamine).
It's difficult to guess what his final offense level will be (and hence
guess what range the judge will have to work with) because it depends on
the amount of taxes he evaded. 

The sentence is determined by the judge, and should be within the range(s)
specified by the sentencing guidelines, unless the judge has a reason to
depart (which can be "upward" = more time, or "downward" = less time) from
the guidelines; there are a number of adjustments to the offense level for
things like weapon use, acceptance of responsibility, etc. The judge is
only allowed to depart from the range specified if there are
aggravating/mitigating factors which aren't covered by the pre-existing

More information about the sentencing guidelines is available at

His political/economic ideas aren't relevant/important to the crimes he
plead to, although I personally suspect that they've got a lot to do with
the decision to investigate and prosecute him.

Greg Broiles                | US crypto export control policy in a nutshell:
gbroiles at         | | Export jobs, not crypto.

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