Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Cost of Cooperation

Is the cost of cooperation really worth it?  In some instances you get a 5K1.1 motion that offers a reduction in sentence for substantial assistance.  In some cases you get the benefit of arguing to the court for a lower sentence.  And in some matters, it may even provide a basis for a non-prosecution. 

But what does this all mean for the person cooperating?  What are the internal costs that this person suffers? This sad story tells it all - Peter Lattman & William K. Rashbaum, NYTimes, A Trader, an F.B.I. Witness, and Then a Suicide


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The problems of "cooperation" within the meaning and expectations now par-for-the-court in the federal system are actually scandalous. Every honest criminal defense attorney, white collar and otherwise, knows that cooperation means getting the client on-board to swear to a story that might be, in substantial portions, untrue. Also, revising history in order to fit within the increasingly vague definitions of federal crime is itself a scandal. To paraphrase one dissenting First Circuit judge, the garden variety federal prosecution often needs a weed-killer. And, I would add, we defense lawyers too often have to put a clothespin to our collective noses. HARVEY SILVERGLATE

Posted by: Harvey A. Silverglate | Jun 6, 2011 10:28:18 AM

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