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February 17, 2006

Notable white-collar sentencing rulings from the circuits

I noted in this post my inability to keep up with all the sentencing action in the federal circuits this week.  But fellow bloggers have helped me see that two white-collar sentencing appeals decided yesterday may merit a spotlight:

  • White Collar Crim Prof Blog has this extended post about the Eleventh Circuit's decision yesterday in US v. Devegter, which is described as "a 'pay-to-play' corruption case involving a payment of over $41,000 for an investment bank to conduct a bond refinancing for Fulton County, Georgia."  The Devegter ruling, which discusses departure authority at length, is available here.

  • How Appealing has this coverage of the Tenth Circuit's decision yesterday in US v. Weidner, which concerns "Former Westar Energy Inc. chief executive David Wittig and an ex-bank president ... in a loan conspiracy case."  The Weidner ruling, which discusses loss calculations at length, is available here.

February 17, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Very intersting. One of the juror's comments in the Denver Post article struck me. Though apparently having some sympathy for the plight of the teenager sentenced to life without parole based on a felony murder conviction she spoke about the rights of the victim's family. It strikes me that the whole victims' rights movement arguably has had a pernicious effect on the adminsitration of justice that does not get discussed very often. I would argue that punishment really ought to be a about what is necessary to serve society's interest and really should have little, if anything, to do with the "rights" of a victim. Although the concept of "victims rights" sounds progressive and is a useful notion when applied to help victims in a positive way, querry whether it should be the basis for punishing offenders more severely than would be justified based on more trational grounds. There seems to be in this country a notion that severe punishment somehow vindicates the value of the life of the victim, and that this concept justifies (at least) life without parole for any murder. This does not seem to be a concept that drives results in most other western industrialized countries, and it seems to me that explains a lot of outcomes that strike me (and I would think a lot of people) as sad. Yet, I am sure many people read these articles and say that the offenders got exactly what they deserve. Is this view uniquely American in some way, our does this view drive policy here because there are fewer constraints on the will of the majority? Any thoughts on this?

Mark
Private Practice

Posted by: Mark | Feb 20, 2006 10:25:32 AM

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