Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More evidence for sentencing fans that soccer can be very exciting

Tumblr_laum40igMI1qafnx3o1_500This lengthy official Justice Department press release provides all the basic details on the sentencing and soccer story breaking in New York this morning.  Here is the extended heading of the press release:

Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption

The Defendants Include Two Current FIFA Vice Presidents and the Current and Former Presidents of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); Seven Defendants Arrested Overseas; Guilty Pleas for Four Individual Defendants and Two Corporate Defendants Also Unsealed

Here are some of the particulars:

A 47-count indictment was unsealed early this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were also unsealed today.

The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella.  Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States – are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.  The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments....

The guilty pleas of the four individual and two corporate defendants that were also unsealed today include the guilty pleas of Charles Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of CONCACAF and former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee; José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil; and two of Hawilla’s companies, Traffic Sports International Inc. and Traffic Sports USA Inc., which is based in Florida.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.  Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.” 

May 27, 2015 in Offense Characteristics, Sports, White-collar sentencing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lots of new talk about lots of new stufff to talk about at "Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform"

As some readers may already know, my Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform blog is really humming now as a great set of guest-bloggers adding their insights and perspective in that space have been providing lots more original commentary to that blog, a lot of which should be of continuing interest to sentencing fans.  Here is a sampling of some of the new posts from just the past week:

Among lots of other noteworthy matters, the last post linked above notes that tonight's episode of HBO's Real Sports examines pot use in the NFL.  This story about the story provides a preview:

HBO’s acclaimed Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET/PT) with a closer look at marijuana use in the NFL....

The enlightening feature, reported by correspondent Andrea Kremer and produced by Chapman Downes, includes interviews with former NFL tight end Nate Jackson (Broncos 2003-2008); former NFL punter Chris Kluwe (Vikings 2005-2012); NFL Senior Vice President of Law and Labor Policy Adolpho Birch; Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and former NFL player Daniel Davis (Real Sports happened to run into him at a Denver area dispensary while they were filming the segment).

According to the HBO report, players estimate that between fifty and sixty percent of today’s NFL players smoke pot. Former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson spoke candidly about self-medicating with marijuana during his playing days in Denver. “I weeded as needed,” Jackson told Kremer. “For me, personally, [marijuana as a painkilling alternative is] very viable. I prefer it. Marijuana was something that helped me, as the season wore on my body would start to break down. I was in a lot of pain.”

The Real Sports report also found that players prefer marijuana for pain management over opiate-based painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycodone which are legal and regularly prescribed by NFL team physicians to help players deal with the inevitable pain and injuries that result from the physically brutal sport.

“For a lot of guys, they see what happens with the older generation of players and how a lot of those guys got addicted to pain pills,” former NFL punter Chris Kluwe told Kremer. “You know - they have alcohol problems. And they're like, ‘Well, you know, is there an alternative? Is there something else we can do?’ And marijuana is an alternative.”...

Beyond pain management and relief, the Real Sports report also explores another potential benefit of marijuana -- effective treatment of traumatic brain injuries (another issue Real Sports has reported on for several years).  Nate Jackson discussed his use of marijuana to help ease concussion symptoms after a blow to his head and neck knocked him out of the second to last game of his career. “The weed helped me,” Jackson told Kremer.

Kremer interviewed Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the doctor who discovered THC in 1964 and who has spent the last 50 years studying marijuana.  Mechoulam has researched marijuana’s efficacy in relieving not only chronic pain and inflammation but how traumatic brain injuries in mice react to marijuana.  Dr. Mechoulam allowed Real Sports to film his team in action as it worked with injured mice.  The results are remarkable.

January 21, 2014 in Marijuana Legalization in the States, Pot Prohibition Issues, Sports, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

As the calender turns to June, my thoughts turn to SCOTUS, baseball and golf

I was pleased to see an interesting bit of judging data in this new "Sidebar" pieceby Adam Liptak in today's New York Times.  The piece is headlined "This Bench Belongs in a Dugout," and it is mostly about baseball fandom on the Supreme Court.  But one of my other passions also got mention thanks to important research in the The Baseball Research Journal:

“Nothing in the law of sport matches the frequency of baseball’s interaction with the institutions of the law or the tendency of lawmakers who speak of sports to talk in baseball terms,” Ross E. Davies, a law professor at George Mason University, wrote in an essay in The Baseball Research Journal last year.

He provided data.  There have been more references to baseball in federal and state judicial opinions over the last century or so than to any other sport, though golf is a surprisingly close second.

With the calender turning to June, and the wonderful Memorial Tournamentstarting in my backyard, and my fantasy baseball team showing a little life, and with the Justices dues to issue a bunch of big opinions starting today and through the whole month, and SG Kagan's confirmation hearing to start at the end of the month, it is a great time to be a SCOTUS and sports nerd.  And I am so pleased to learn thanks to this new "Sidebar" piece that I can reasonably hope for baseball and golf references as I plow through new Supreme Court rulings.

June 1, 2010 in Sports, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack