Thursday, July 27, 2006
The message to white collar criminal defendants is becoming clear - exercise your right to trial and you face the possibility of what in essence may end up being a life sentence. This week in Miami a banker received a 30 year sentence for his alleged role in a bank fraud. (see Miami Herald here) According to the Miami Herald, Masferrer was found guilty for his role in "masterminding the securities fraud at the defunct Hamilton Bank."
Two co-defendants, however, received sentences of 28 months. (see here) They plead guilty.
Two things are apparent here:
1. Anyone who might have been concerned that sentences in white collar cases would decrease in a post-Booker world can feel pretty secure in this not happening when seeing this sentence.
2.Irrespective of guilt or innocence, there is always a risk if one goes to trial. With sentence differentials like these, it may start coming down to whether the accused is willing to take a risk, as opposed to whether the person believes they are innocent and have a constitutional right to a jury trial.
Addendum - Check out Professor Doug Berman's Sentencing Blog on this sentence and another white collar sentence. (see here)