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November 28, 2007

Any early predictions for Lord Conrad Black's fate?

I have been getting lots of media calls (mostly from folks with great accents) because the parties public objections to the presentencing report for Conrad Black have been submitted this week.  Though the PSR is not a public document, this effective news overview highlights that it seems the PSR has rejected some of the government's boldest sentencing suggestions.

Though I have never followed this case closely, I know there are some interesting acquitted conduct issues lurking, in addition to all the usual white-collar issues (including whether he will get bail pending appeal).  And I believe that US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald --- remember him? --- is seeking a sentence measured in decades, while the defense is seeks a sentence measured in months.  Of course, in all likelihood, the sentencing judge will end up between the parties and have a number with years.  Any predictions about what that number will be, dear readers?

November 28, 2007 at 05:09 PM | Permalink


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whats the guideline?

Posted by: DAG | Nov 28, 2007 6:38:50 PM

He has one if not the best sentencing lawyers in the country. Once again the US attorney is brainwashed into thinking the only punishment available is a sentence decades long.
The problem lies with the administration. The direction the US attorney is given is to seek the longest possible sentence basically shoot for the moon. When the longest sentence is not always the best answer.
Change is needed and it has to start with the thinking at the top. Every report I have read states long prison sentence is not a deterrent at all. The US attorney always makes sure they throw that line in knowing full well it is not the case.

Posted by: | Nov 28, 2007 9:14:27 PM

I really have not been following this, but US Attorneys (and all prosecutors) know full well that they lose credibility by demanding the statutory max for everything.

Posted by: S.cotus | Nov 29, 2007 10:37:55 AM

That does not stop them they are brainwashed into asking for the max on everything they are out of control. I wish the government put as much effort into telling me why milk is $5 a gallon and gas is going to $4 a gallon as they do trying to put people away for crazy amounts of time

Posted by: | Nov 29, 2007 11:12:04 AM

But this just isn't the case. Prosecutors simply do not ask for the statutory maximum in all cases, nor should they. Seriously, hang out at a court for a week or so. Or maybe ask one of the prosecutors (or a defense attorney) on here.

Maybe if you are lucky, in a state court you will see a rookie prosecutor asking for extremely high sentences, and then get toyed with by a PD for a few hours before a low sentence is handed down. (Federal prosecutors generally won't fall for this because there are usually more layers of review.) After wasting a few hours on nothing the prosecutor will realize that their time was wasted for no reason other than their own ego.

I think that the reason that many white collar of recent days seem to involve potentially high sentences is that the conduct, by its nature, was often over a long period of time and involved a large amount of money. Most violent crimes, however, do not. Heck, a murder might involve no money and take place in a minute!

Finally, as to your brainwashing argument: can you point to an example of where a US Attorney saught an irrationally high sentence that was not supported by either the facts or GSR? Even the positions that I disagree with seem to be based on some rational view of reality.

Posted by: S.cotus | Nov 29, 2007 12:12:44 PM

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