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June 12, 2009

"Judge Orders Former Bristol-Myers Executive to Write Book"

The title of this post is the headline of this New York Times article discussing a creative sentencing term imposed by a federal judge on a white-collar offender.  Here are a few of the details:

On Monday, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, sentenced a former senior pharmaceutical executive to write a book. Earlier this year the executive, Dr. Andrew G. Bodnar, a former senior vice president at Bristol-Myers Squibb, had pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the federal government about the company’s efforts to resolve a patent dispute over the blood thinner Plavix.

The judge sentenced Dr. Bodnar to two years of probation during which he is to write a book about his experience connected to the case. Dr. Bodnar must also pay a $5,000 fine. Elkan Abramowitz, Dr. Bodnar’s lawyer, said he had never before heard of a case in which a judge sentenced a defendant to write a book.

But this is not the first time Judge Urbina has demanded written penance. In 1998, he sentenced a prominent Washington lobbyist to write and distribute a monograph to 2,000 lobbyists at the defendant’s own expense. The lobbyist, James H. Lake, pleaded guilty to making illegal corporate campaign contributions. Judge Urbina ordered him to pay a $150,000 fine and to write a monograph describing the criminal provisions of federal laws governing corporate campaign contributions.

In the sentencing hearing on Monday, Judge Urbina said he would like to see Dr. Bodnar write a book about the Plavix case as a cautionary tale to other executives. The case concerned accusations that Bristol-Myers had made false statements to federal investigators about the company’s attempt to resolve a patent dispute with a Canadian maker of generic drugs, Apotex.

The WSJ Law Blog has this useful follow-up post on the sentence, which is titled "Go Directly to . . . Authorship? More on Judge Urbina’s Odd Sentence" and includes an interesting Q&A with Dan Markel.

June 12, 2009 at 05:40 PM | Permalink


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I find this a troublesome sentencing condition on first amendment grounds though he likely welcomes it in lieu of prison. A government command to speak is no less onerous than a command to remain silent. It would be interesting to see how such a command would fare on appeal but I doubt this will be taken there.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 12, 2009 8:45:53 PM

When the cult criminal, federal thug comes around, it is an affirmative duty of everyone productive to totally resist. It is mandatory to legally attack, and seek the personal destruction of this cult criminal. You stay silent, you refuse to product any document without a judge's order. Then you parse. Every utterance of the cult criminal gets reported to his own Integrity division and the proper Disciplinary Counsel, one a time, once a week. Then demand total e-discovery on the vile cult criminal, down to social networks from his Kindergarten years. Get the credit card records. Get all personal computers, seeking sanctions for any that cannot be found or were destroyed. These federal thugs's computers have a high chance of containing child porn, since the government is the biggest subscriber and downloader of this illegal material. Refer the federal thug to the appropriate prosecutor. Start contacting the family of the thug to demand they straighten out their out of control brat. Then, always countersue. Use the race and gender card, or any other card. These are low life dirtbags who must be deterred.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 13, 2009 12:18:24 AM

I wonder if a waiver of Am. 1 rights was included in the plea agreement....

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Jun 13, 2009 8:29:53 AM

This punishment is from seventh grade, write 500 words on why you should not talk out without permission.

The judge should be forced to wear a tall dunce cap, and to write a book on over-reaching, oppressive government regulation, and how it is destroying our economy.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 15, 2009 5:34:02 AM

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