Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on Fastow

Some more thoughts on the Fastow sentence:

1.  Some may argue that this sentence is another example of why we need strict sentencing guidelines that do not allow for judicial discretion. This is inaccurate.  Even with strict guidelines in a pre-Booker world, the court would have had the discretion to give this sentence to Fastow.  Sentences premised upon cooperation, that is sentences where the accused receives a 5K1.1 cooperation benefit, are allowed to be outside the guidelines.  Thus, even with strict guidelines - Fastow's sentence could have been the same.

2. Are the sentences proportional here?  There may be room for argument here in that clearly those who plead are receiving substantially less for the same crime than those who risk a trial. Some may argue that saving the government time and money warrants this disparity.  But on the other side, does this diminish the constitutional right to a jury trial?

3. Peter Lattman at the Wall Street Jrl here asks the question, "Did Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Win Andy Fastow a Lighter Sentence?"  As noted here, it was the University of California system that was asking for leniency for Fastow. It is rare that one finds a victim asking for leniency for the convicted defendant.  But when they personally receive a benefit, it is understandable that they will come forward and be there at the sentencing.  This is somewhat bothersome, however, in that poorer individuals, those with no information to offer the government, and those who are last in the prosecution line are individuals who have nothing left to offer in cooperation and are just plain out of luck. 

(esp)

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Comments

When you turn the electricity out on a large metropolitan area—let alone an entire state—it is certain that a few people will die. You might argue that most of those will be elderly or have severe medical conditions and would have soon died anyhow. But they will die the day you turn off the lights.

When Enron turned off the electricity in California, at least one woman lost her life: It was an auto accident at an intersection normally control by a stoplight.

Is six years for a manslaughter a proportional sentence?

Posted by: Ned Ulbricht | Sep 27, 2006 7:53:12 PM

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