Saturday, September 27, 2008
Despite recent Supreme Court opinions that provide some flexibility when sentencing a convicted defendant, guideline sentences appear to be part of a culture that is not changing. A recent white collar case that demonstrates a court not departing below the guidelines, is the recent sentencing of T. Milton Street. A brother of former Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, T. Milton Street received a sentence of 30 months for his convictions for tax charges. (see Emilie Lounsberry, Philadelphia Inquirer, T, Milton Street Sr. gets 30 months for dodging taxes) The trial was an unusual one, with the accused arguing the unconstitutionality of the tax code (see here). The jury failed to convict the accused of the fraud charges brought by the government, and also did not convict of all the tax charges that had been brought. (see here). In addition to the stiff tax sentence, the court failed to grant the accused bail pending his appeal. (see Michael Hinkelman, Philadelphia Inquirer, T. Milton Street Sentenced to 30 Months) This does not, however, preclude him from asking the appellate court for bail.
(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Peter Goldberger)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The 10th Circuit heard en banc the appellate case of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio. The Denver Post here provides details of that argument. The panel had reversed and remanded the convictions (see here) with a statement that "Armchair economics is not the way to decide complex securities cases." But the case immediately went en banc for the full court to consider some issue regarding the merits of the matter, and others of a procedural nature.
Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post, Attorney for Stevens Tells Jurors Alaska Senator 'Is Honest,' Did Not Lie
Kroll Global Fraud Report, Annual Fraud Report 2008-09 here
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Randall D. Eliason, Legal Times, We Need to Indict Them - Deferred Prosecution Agreements Won't Deter Enough Corporate Crime (w/ a hat tip to Whitney Curtis)
DOJ Press Release, Foreign National Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Alien Smuggling Charges
Pamela A. MacClean, National Law Journal, Tax Attorney, Former Global Manager at Bechtel Group Indicted on Tax Charges
Monday, September 22, 2008
The jury selection process started in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens. Whether the defense is making a wise move to proceed quickly to trial remains to be seen - clearly for political reasons it allows Senator Stevens the ability to have a trial prior to facing re-election. But should the political issue be the focus when the accused faces possible prison time and a conviction? This can be a tough call for a politician facing criminal charges. On one hand if the accused believes him- or herself innocent, resolving the issue quickly prior to an election is important to avoid a loss premised on innuendos and charges. On the other hand, preparing for a federal trial takes time.
And the pressure is not exclusive to the accused. If the government takes the step to indict before an election, then they should be prepared to go to an immediate trial. Claims of needing more time should have been considered prior to issuing the Indictment of someone who will be on the ballot when the polls open.
The witness list in this case presents an interesting array of individuals, both Democrats and Republicans. (see here) The Indictment presents seven counts of false statements (see here). So far there been discovery issues for both sides. (see here and here). The question will be whether the evidence will start this week, and if so, what will it include.