Thursday, July 27, 2006

30 Year Sentence in White Collar Case

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)

Sentencing | Permalink

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No one should have to face a choice of being able to walk away with a veritable slap on the wrist if he pleads but if he puts the government to the test he gets life. It is not only inherently unfair, (after all if the case is worth 28 months without a... [Read More]

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Oh no. White collar defendants are now like every other defendant facing a choice between plea bargain and trial.

Posted by: iocaste | Jul 28, 2006 4:26:53 AM

We need to have a system of recusing judges and a system that checks bias of federal judges. These judges think they are gods.

Posted by: Stuart Leddle | Jul 28, 2006 9:26:47 AM

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