Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Twenty Five Years Is A Long Sentence for a White Collar Crime

In upholding the conviction of Bernard Ebbers, the Second Circuit stated[
t]wenty-five years is a long sentence for a white collar crime, longer than the sentences routinely imposed by many states for violent crimes, including murder, or other serious crimes such as serial child molestation.

And it certainly is, in particular when we compare such a sentence to other "more serious" types of crimes.

The sentence presents a number of interesting questions about what is worse in society - violent crime or corporate crimes which cost thousands of people significant financial losses. Couple this statement with Judge Jed Rakoff's rejection of an 85 year sentence for 42 months, and the Booker decision which tossed the federal sentencing guidelines, and we have a very interesting area of debate.

It also presents a significant area of uncertainty for defendants charged with securities fraud crimes.

For those interested in the theoretical side of this issue, the White Collar Crime Professor Blog has a number of posts, and a number of questions.
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