DON’T SEND MATT COOPER TO PRISON… The Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of journalists Matt Cooper and Judith Miller and their refusal to reveal their sources to prosecutors in the Valerie Plame leak investigation. Federal district court chief judge Thomas F. Hogan is expected to hear arguments this week about when and how the reporters will serve their time. The special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, is expected to request the two go to jail immediately.

Charles Peters, founding editor of The Washington Monthly, has written this item, which speaks for all of us at the magazine:

Matthew Cooper is threatened with jail for refusing to reveal a source. The special prosecutor does not have to recommend jail, and even if he does recommend it, the judge can ignore it. Although we believe Matt is right in refusing to identify his source, that is not the argument that we make here. Our concern is to keep him out of jail. Matt is not only a fine reporter, he is a caring husband and father, a kind and thoughtful friend, and an all-round good citizen. And he has a marvelous sense of humor. Wait a minute, what relevance does his sense of humor have, you ask. Unlike many who share his comic gift, Matt laughs at himself. He is incapable of the self-righteousness that seeks martyrdom. If the prosecutor and judge can approach this case in the same spirit without self-righteousness, they will see that even if they disagree with Matt, he has good reason for taking his stand. There is a total absence of criminal intent on his part. He should not be put in jail. Criminals belong in jail, not Matthew Cooper. How about house arrest for a month?or, even better, a week? That way, the authorities can be loyal to their principle while respecting Matt’s loyalty to his.

If you agree, please write Judge Thomas Hogan appealing for a merciful sentence. Do not tell the judge he?s wrong about the law. Just concentrate on Matt?s personal character and family situations, explaining why he should not be put in jail.

The Honorable Thomas F. Hogan
Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

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Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he is writing a book on America’s involvement in the Greek War of Independence.