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May 23, 2007

A different kind of coke sentencing in Atlanta

As detailed in this AP article, a defendant in Atlanta faces sentencing today for a distinct version of the crime of dealing coke:

A former Coca-Cola secretary's claim of innocence during her trial could weigh against her when she is sentenced Wednesday for conspiring to steal trade secrets from the world's largest beverage maker.  Joya Williams faces up to 10 years in prison for the foiled scheme to steal secrets from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and sell them to Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc. for at least $1.5 million. She was convicted Feb. 2.

Williams, 42, asserted her innocence and testified at the trial that she did nothing wrong in the Coke case.  Both are factors that federal judges are allowed to consider when imposing a sentence.  "Penalizing someone for exercising their right to testify on their own behalf is in every sense wrong, but it has been challenged in court and it has been upheld," said Janice Singer, Williams' attorney.  Williams doesn't have a prior criminal record, and that could benefit her at sentencing.

A prosecution spokesman, Patrick Crosby, declined to say Tuesday what sentence the government will recommend for Williams.  Details of a pre-sentence report prepared by probation officials were under wraps....

Singer said Tuesday that she will ask U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester for leniency for Williams, though the attorney said she hadn't decided whether to seek a specific sentence. Forrester is not bound by federal sentencing guidelines, though any departure from the guidelines has to be reasonable.

I wonder if readers might be inclined to venture a guess as to the likely sentence (or to argue for a particular sentence) for the coke bandit.  Without having any idea of the applicable guideline range, I'm guessing that around a year in prison is possible.

May 23, 2007 at 07:57 AM | Permalink


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Is there a 100-to-1 ratio for aspartame versus high fructose corn syrup?

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | May 23, 2007 11:51:22 AM

How did someone with two convictions ever get placed in a position with any responsibility at Coca-Cola? Is this the result of an employer attempting to help someone or does Coke just hire anything that walks in off the street? Williams is at fault and deserves ever month she got and then some. Her attitude alone should have insured ten years. I encourage Coke to do a better job of hiring. They must find a way to measure the integrity of the people they hire. Anyone with a criminal past should be denied employment and any laws preventing disclosure of a criminal history should be repealed.

Posted by: Ed Dennis | May 26, 2007 7:10:11 AM

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