Monday, December 8, 2014
The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Matthews has a decent background story (subscription required) here. The Matthews piece contains the U.S. Probation Office's recommended sentences for three of the five defendants. How did this happen, you say, if such information, and the Presentence Report itself, is confidential? My guess is that the information is contained in the various sentencing memos submitted by the parties. Different districts, and different judges within districts, have differing policies on what portions of submitted sentencing materials must be filed under seal. The PSR itself is always highly confidential, but sentencing memos often reveal information about recommended sentences and Guideline calculations. The lack of uniformity on sentencing confidentiality in federal district courts throughout the country is unfortunate. Eight years ago the great majority of sentencing memos I filed were under seal. The trend is very much the other way today.
Today's This week's sentencings will no doubt be heavily influenced by the enormity of Madoff's fraud, the draconian white collar Sentencing Guidelines, and the victims--many of whom have submitted letters and impact statements. We can expect many victims to speak up today in court.