Monday, December 10, 2007
Conrad Black received a sentence of 6 1/2 years. (see here, here, and here). This is far from the 24 years requested by the government. (Sun Times calls it giving him a break here) But it is also above some predictions (see here). Black made a statement at the sentencing hearing (he did express regret to shareholders), but an apology with an admission was not forthcoming (see here). With an appeal of the conviction about to start, it would be difficult to provide an apology that admitted to wrongdoing as the statement could prove detrimental to his claim of innocence.
Defendants are placed in a precarious situation of wanting to show remorse to reduce their sentence, but also wanting to continue their claims of innocence for appeal. This is yet another example of when going to trial severely disadvantages the accused. Not only does the person accused of the crime lose out on the opportunity for a lower sentence via a plea, but they also lose on reducing their sentence by not presenting acceptance of responsibility and remorse, factors that mitigate a sentence. After all, how can one claim that they have remorse or accept responsibility if they are arguing that they are legally innocent.
Conrad Black can be very thankful to the judge, in that according to the Star he was given 12 weeks before having to report to prison. (see here). More on this later.