Under the Dome

Geddings' sentencing set for April

Staff WritersMarch 23, 2007 

Federal Judge James C. Dever III is laying down the law for Kevin Geddings.

And so it now seems certain that Geddings, the former state lottery commissioner who was convicted of mail fraud last year, will get his punishment in April.

Dever recently denied a request from Geddings for extra time to sort out the factors that will be a part of the sentencing. Geddings, who has received one time extension already, wanted another.

Geddings' attorney, Thomas Manning of Raleigh, argued in court papers that he doesn't even have the transcript of the trial, which he said he needs to object to some points that could be made by the government at a sentencing hearing and in a special report that is used to help determine the amount of possible prison time. Manning couldn't be reached Thursday.

Geddings, a former Democratic strategist from Charlotte who now lives in Florida, wanted until May 1 to file paperwork objecting to the report.

The judge said no in a March 9 order. "The parties have had ample time," Dever wrote. "No further extensions will be granted."

Dever said sentencing will take place in April, but he did not specify the day.

Another high-profile defendant will be in court next month, too. Former Rep. Michael Decker, who took bribes from former House Speaker Jim Black, is due to be sentenced April 23. Black, who has pleaded guilty to a public corruption felony, is due to be sentenced May 14.

Ranking the delegation

U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, a Republican, and Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, are ideological twins, or at least close siblings, according to a new ranking of Congress out from the National Journal.

The magazine ranks members of Congress each year by tallying their votes on various issues and comparing their conservative/liberal scores against one another.

Jones, of Farmville, is more conservative than 46.5 percent of his colleagues in the House of Representatives, according to the National Journal. McIntyre, of Lumberton, ranks close behind, with a conservative score of 42.8 percent.

Little surprise there, since Jones has come out against the war in Iraq and begun questioning the administration on other military matters as well. McIntyre, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has long been considered the most conservative of the state's Democrats.

In fact, Jones and McIntyre are among the members National Journal labels "centrists," those members in the center of the ideological pack in Congress. Also on the magazine's centrist list is Rep. Bob Etheridge, a Democrat from Lillington.

The survey showed U.S. Reps. Sue Myrick and Patrick McHenry are the state's most conservative members. They also rank somewhat highly on the national scale, 20th and 23rd, respectively.

On the left, U.S. Reps. Mel Watt and David Price come in at most liberal in North Carolina, though they're slightly more moderate compared nationally.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, both Republicans, rank 17th and 36th, respectively, in conservative ranks.

And Dole was one of 18 members tied for the most conservative senators on social policies.

For other fun numbers on the ideology of the North Carolina delegation, go to http://nationaljournal.com/voteratings/index.htm, and click on the state map.

An attack on 'robo calls'

State Attorney General Roy Cooper is pushing legislation to let people stop unwanted "robo calls" -- prerecorded, automated phone calls from political campaigns.

The legislation, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Tony Rand, a Democrat from Fayetteville, would ban political candidates and parties from making robo calls to people who have put their phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

Policy center picks directors

The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research has elected five new directors to its board. They include Fred Stang of Durham, the development director at the Triangle Community Foundation.

The board of the nonpartisan center also chose its officers for 2007. Michael C. Miller of Asheboro, CEO of First National Bank and Trust Co., remains board chairman, while Betsy Justus of Cary, a former state revenue secretary, was elected vice chairwoman.

The center also has a new editor for its journal, North Carolina Insight. Mebane Rash Whitman is a lawyer who had worked at the center as a public policy analyst from 1994 to 1998.

Curliss can be reached at 829-4840 or acurliss@newsobserver.com.

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