Former Clayton County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff and political consultant Mitzi Bickers’ sentencing on nine federal corruption charges has been pushed back from July 12 to September 8. Bickers remains free on bond as of press time.
Bickers’ attorneys filed a motion to continue her sentencing date on June 22 in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia.
According to the court filing, Bickers’ attorneys, Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg, got a copy of her initial presentencing report on June 15. They noted, “This disclosure was 8 days past the 35-day requirement as per F.R.C.P. 32 and counsel had been in communication with probation officer Logan regarding her needing additional time.”
Findling wrote that Bickers needed more time to raise objections to possible sentencing because the case was complicated.
“As the Court is aware, this is a sentencing following a multi-week jury trial for which there was a split verdict as well as multiple counts of conviction. Therefore, the guideline calculations and other issues to be litigated at the time of sentencing in this matter are complex.”
On March 23, a federal jury found Bickers guilty on counts 1, 4-10, and 12. Here is a breakdown of the charges:
|1||Conspiracy to Commit Bribery||18 U.S.C. § 371||Guilty|
|2||Conspiracy to Commit Bribery||18 U.S.C. § 371||Not Guilty|
|3||Bribery||18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(2)||Not Guilty|
|4||Money Laundering||18 U.S.C. § 1957||Guilty|
|5||Money Laundering||18 U.S.C. § 1957||Guilty|
|6||Money Laundering||18 U.S.C. § 1957||Guilty|
|7||Wire Fraud||18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1349||Guilty|
|8||Wire Fraud||18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1349||Guilty|
|9||Wire Fraud||18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1349||Guilty|
|10||Wire Fraud||18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1349||Guilty|
|11||Tampering with a Witness or Informant||18 U.S.C. §1512(b)(3)||Not Guilty|
|12||Filing False Tax Returns||26 U.S.C. § 7206||Guilty|
The website sentencing.us shows just how complicated setting a sentence can be for a single charge. For example, a bribery conviction takes into account several factors: whether the person a public official, how much money was involved, how many bribes were offered, whether anyone was threatened or their property damaged, whether the bribe was done to facilitate another crime, whether it was done to obstruct justice, whether the bribe involved getting a passport or other government ID, the defendant’s criminal history, whether the defendant accepted responsibility, and so on.
All the applicable factors generate a score that judges can use in determining the length of any sentence or amount of any fine.
However, more goes into sentencing than whatever number a calculator spits out. The judge has to decide how much punishment is enough and how much is too much. Other factors like a history of substance abuse or efforts to make restitution to victims can play into a judge’s sentencing decisions. The U.S. Sentencing Commission publishes guidelines for judges.
Federal prosecutors agreed to the continuance, according to the filing.
On June 24, the U.S. Attorney’s Office notified the court that it had completed a 30-day publication of the condemnation of Bickers’ Lake Spivey home at 3306 Bay View Drive in Jonesboro, 2014 GMC Acadia Denali, and four Yamaha personal water craft.