Judge: “The Court has studied the situation and plea agreement. We agree that Sid’s letters show he is well-liked and respected in his profession.” Mentions that many of the letters received were solicited, so there is no surprise that they ask for leniency. Court also received unsolicited letters from lay people who look cynically at this conduct of lawyers. “I am surprised at how lightly this is being taken by some people who are in charge of students, and know the message this can send.”
The Court has been impressed with Backstrom’s state of mind and remorse. He mentions the statement Backstrom made when he pled guilty, and that “other codefendants” did not show that attitude. The Court has not seen some kind of cooperation with the government. Backstrom gave the plea agreement for ½ of Scruggs’ sentence based on assumed cooperation.
Defense Atty: We’ve done what we were asked to do.
Judge Biggers: There has been no testimony about his knowledge about other co-defendants, one of whom I am particularly interested in.
Defense Atty: There was no knowledge.
Judge Biggers: I will accept the plea agreement. I know it’s a difficult thing for you. I know about your family. But, as Mr. Scruggs said this morning, he hopes he will be a better man when this is over, and I hope that you will be as well.
-28 months; supervised release 3 years; Fine $150,000 with upward deviation of $2,000/mo. During incarceration and $1700/mo. During release
-lump sum in 30 days; recommends Arkansas facility