Friday, November 14, 2008

My Wish List to President Barack Obama & The Next AG

We all have our wish lists of things we would like accomplished in this new administration.  And when it comes to the administration of DOJ, it is easy to list many items such as matters related to GITMO, etc. So, limited to white collar crime issues - my two cents -

To the New AG -

  • Focus on computer crimes and identity theft - they take time to investigate and prove, but the public needs some relief here
  • Restore DOJ to being a non-politicized agency
  • Provide better transparency, especially with items like deferred prosecution agreements - put them all online for everyone to see
  • Mandate that all DOJ attorneys never ask anyone to waive their attorney-client privilege unless they have court approval for something like a crime-fraud exception
  • Respect the right to counsel and allow those charged with crimes to have their attorney fees paid if the company and individual had a pre-existing contract or practice to do so
  • Support efforts in Congress to pass a good-faith defense for corporations so that there is a strong incentive for companies to eradicate criminality from within the corporation
  • Prosecute white collar offenders equally with no regard to their race, age, ethnicity, education, class, gender, national origin, disabilities, family status, religion, sexual orientation, or how much they paid in political support to a certain party
  • Support efforts to bring sentences in line with those given in most civilized countries for white collar offenses
  • Support revisions to statutes that will remove vagueness in statutes, like "honest services" in mail fraud, so that individuals are aware of what is a crime and what is not and will be deterred from committing the crime
  • Spend time educating corporate America on what is permitted and what is a violation of law
  • If you want to stop something you think is criminal, like backdating, then first put people on notice that if they engage in this conduct in the future they will be prosecuted
  • Don't permit DOJ attorneys to use a parallel proceeding to secure evidence for a criminal matter
  • Use a strict disciplinary system in DOJ if attorneys fail to abide by rules of professional conduct
  • Develop educational programs for youths to teach them what is considered a crime with respect to computer usage
  • Set up an independent board to give grants to the press for investigative reporting.  After all, it is this type of reporting that uncovers many white collar crimes. But it needs to be independent with no government oversight - because the last thing needed is a government owned press.
  • Support efforts to revise the Criminal Code - Right now we have a disorganized mess of statutes scattered every which way that pertains to criminal matters. Title 18 is supposed to be the criminal code, but one finds many criminal provisions in places you least expect
    • Support efforts to get rid of statutes that should have been purged from the books years ago
    • Support efforts to get rid of statutes that are duplicative - hitting a person for the same conduct once is enough
  • Conduct an investigation on cases such as former Alabama Governor Siegelman and Cyril Wecht and if politics played any role - do the right thing
  • Re-examine the Ben Kuehne case - should this really be prosecuted?
  • Create a national task force to investigate the financial mess that we are in, but don't just prosecute as a reaction to the financial downfall - prosecute only the criminality that would be such irrespective of the market's drop

And to President Barack Obama -

  • Appoint someone as Attorney General that will make all of this happen
  • Commute Jamie Olis' sentence.

Readers - all yours -


Addendum from Readers -

Michael C. Durney - I would add only one thought: DOJ should reinstitute the old (circa 1960s-) rule of charging: The test is not can we indict, but should we indict.

John Wesley Hall, President of NACDL - Put restoring DOJ's credibility to the top of the list

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» An Obama Christmas? Podgor's White Collar Crime Wish List from The Faculty Lounge
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Tracked on Nov 14, 2008 7:22:47 AM


I'm glad to see, at long last, a focus on the vagueness of federal criminal statutes and regulations -- a serious deviation from the common law that once protected citizens from being prosecuted even in the absence of criminal intent. Harvey Silverglate

Posted by: Harvey A. Silverglate | Nov 15, 2008 11:26:53 AM

I would add,

Support legislation that would permit a witness before a federal grand jury to be accompanied by counsel.

Posted by: Jon May | Nov 16, 2008 6:11:11 PM

The vaugeness of the federal criminal statutes and regulations is a major flaw in the US criminal justice system. I saw men sentenced to decades on relatively minor charges while others walked free in a matter of a few years after being convcted of major crimes such as bank robbery, rape, homicide etc. I am glad to see that this area is being targeted for clarification.

Posted by: Jonathan Richards Ex Federal Prison Inmate | Nov 20, 2008 7:11:28 AM

I would like to add that formal title is President-Elect Obama until he is sworn into office.

Posted by: Jacob | Dec 2, 2008 12:29:30 PM

It is time to reavaluate the liberal treatment of white collar criminals. They ruin lives of millions of hard working Americans and receive a slap on the hand. The time to change these laws are well overdue.

Posted by: ronald lunge | Mar 24, 2009 6:25:44 PM

ok punish white collar crimes but not for the rest of their lives. I am a non-violent, ex-federal offender with two degrees and still paying for a crime i did ten years ago. Enough is enough my name is jaime woodard (201-966-1251 / [email protected])the founder of We Deserve Our Lives the site supports the bill HR1529. If passed into law the bill would allow first-time, non-violent, ex-federal offenders to petition the court for an expungement ( if the individual qualifies for the expungement requirements). HR1529 can be viewed at and Help me spread the word about about HR1529.

Posted by: jaime woodard | Jan 3, 2010 4:34:38 PM

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