Dianne Wilkerson Sentencing Hearing
I am not an impartial observer. Rather, I, Jamarhl Crawford am a active and ardent supporter of Dianne Wilkerson and her family. I have known Sen. Wilkerson and her family for over 20 years, I consider her as an extended “Auntie” figure and hold her nephews and sons as some of my dearest friends. Saying that, I am also completely able to give an accurate perspective and portrayal of the goings on of the court proceedings.
Blackstonian arrived at the courthouse and witnessed many familiar faces assembled as a support base for Sen. Wilkerson, the Blackstonian among them (To be clear I was not there to cover this event but as a supporter). The hearing was set to begin at 2:30 pm and began promptly.
The hearing began with statements from the Prosecutor and relied heavily on a theory of why Wilkerson should or should not receive 1) less than the proposed sentence 2) the exact sentence 3) more than the proposed sentence.
The Prosecutor pontificated on several legal points, much of which was dismissed by Judge Douglas Woodlock even resulting in an admonishment to the Prosecutor that “You do realize you are treading very near the edge of the precipice” To which the Prosecutor acknowledged his extreme path of logic but chose to continue anyway.
The Prosecutor also brought up several points regarding Dianne Wilkerson’s handling of the case, particularly her behavior and decorum during the entire time since her arrest.
The Prosecutor noted that;
1) Wilkerson did not make public statements after her arrest
2) Wilkerson plead to the charges which avoided a complicated trial and an intimate discussion of the inflammatory details.
3) Wilkerson conducted herself in an appropriate manner at all times, took responsibility for the charges, has already paid back any monies in question, and has refrain from incendiary remarks.
After the statements from the Prosecutor the Judge heard from the Defense Team.
Those who spoke included Attorney and Professor Charles Ogletree as well as Attorney Max Stern and testimony from Dianne Wilkerson speaking on her own behalf.
Attorney Charles Ogletree Statement
Prof. Ogletree delivered a passionate assessment of Dianne Wilkerson’s entire career, as well as her history and what I would term her many “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” moments. Prof. Ogletree also addressed some of the erroneous characterizations in the Prosecutor’s statements and clarified some of the legal precedents in regards to elected officials who were faced with similar circumstances, charges and sentencing.
Dianne Wilkerson Statement
Sen. Wilkerson addressed the court in a manner befitting her experience as an Attorney, Activist, and most importantly as Human Being, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister, Daughter and servant of the people. Sen. Wilkerson chose not to reiterate the content of her letter submitted to the court and rather focused on her acceptance of whatever verdict may come, her acknowledgement of wrongdoing and taking responsibility and also welcoming a new beginning and dedication to continued community service.
Attorney Max Stern Statements
Atty. Stern primarily focused on the legality of any issue addressed. Atty. Stern provided perspective several times during the proceedings. Atty. Stern outlined the legal parameters and worked in conjunction with Prof. Ogletree combatting the prosecution and offering perspective on case history and precedent.
Judge Douglas Woodlock
Ultimately, Judge Woodlock did not accept many assertions made by the prosecution and even admonished the prosecution “You do realize you are treading very near the edge of the precipice”. Judge Woodlock acknowledged the many letters received in support of Wilkerson and after debating several legal cases of other elected officials in similar situations and quoting Sir. Francis Bacon.
Judge Woodlock referenced all of the submitted documents, testimony, statements form both the defense and prosecution before he rendered his verdict.
This lead to the judgement….
42 months (3 1/2 yrs) incarcerated
3 years probation
There are a variety of options of what this could actually mean in terms of time served.
Blackstonian will report and support all efforts on Wilkerson’s behalf.
After the hearing the defense team made statements in front of the federal courthouse.
Statements were made by Attorney/Prof. Ogletree, Atty. Max Stern and Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
Both Attorneys reiterated points made during the hearing and elaborated further on the judgement of Judge Woodlock and his decision to sentence in the manner that he did.
Sen. Wilkerson spoke on what has remained unexamined until this point. Sen. Wilkerson referred to documents that will soon be public through the federal courts disclosure that will show that prominent Boston black clergy and other leaders acting as willing participants/informants in this federal investigations. Furthermore, the entire basis on which Wilkerson and Turner were entrapped is the result of the overlooking of more dangerous violations of the law including, drug peddling, money laundering, law enforcement payments, etc.
The media continued long after the Wilkerson case and all supporters were gone. US Atty. Carmen Ortiz made public statements which should be widely available via various media sources.