They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Scott Bloch Gets Jail Time Overturned, Court Blames Lawyers


When U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson sentenced him to the mandatory minimum time, one month in prison, Bloch claimed he wasn't made aware of the mandatory sentence before pleading guilty. Bloch attempted to appeal the ruling in March, but Robinson held firm, saying he "was cognizant of the full extent of the provisions of the statute."

Bloch then appealed her ruling to Judge Royce Lamberth, the chief of the U.S. District Court in Washington, who sent the case back to Robinson on Wednesday with the guilty plea reversed.

According to court filings, Bloch undisputedly read the statute before pleading guilty to it.

"That said, the Court finds it surprising that none of the attorneys in this case--neither those for the government, nor those for defendant--questioned such precedent upon reading the statute. This is, at bottom, a situation in which lawyering has fallen short," the decision reads.

"Again, however, the relevant question is what defendant believed when he pled guilty, however inexplicable that belief."

About The Author


Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at