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June 23, 2009

Madoff asking for a 12-year prison sentence

As detailed in this new story in the New York Law Journal, which is headlined "Madoff Lawyer Asks Judge to Ignore 'Hysteria,' Impose 12-Year Sentence," the legal team for Bernie Madoff has come up with an interesting proposed sentencing number:

If you are arguing that Bernard L. Madoff should be given a break, you work with what you have. Attempting to mitigate a maximum sentence of 150 years for a client whose name has become synonymous with greed, defense attorney Ira Lee Sorkin asked a federal judge this morning to set aside the "hysteria" generated by of the largest Ponzi scheme in history and give Mr. Madoff only 12 years in prison.

In a letter to Southern District Judge Denny Chin, Mr. Sorkin argued as a fallback that a 15-to-20 year term would accomplish the goals of the sentencing laws "without disproportionately punishing" Mr. Madoff. "We seek neither mercy nor sympathy," Mr. Sorkin said, promising that at his scheduled sentencing on Monday Mr. Madoff "will speak to the shame he has felt and to the pain he has caused."

Thanks to the folks at the NYLJ, everyone can (and should) check out the sentencing letter sent from the Madoff team to Judge Chin at this link.

Some related Madoff sentencing posts:

June 23, 2009 at 02:28 PM | Permalink


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Has anyone mentioned Madoff's lack of cooperation? By all accounts he was not especially helpful to investigators who have been trying to unravel his fraud. And he still maintains he acted alone, a claim practically no one believes. Those factors would militate heavily against giving this guy a break.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 23, 2009 4:52:24 PM

Marc. He pled guilty. There was no plea deal to pledge cooperation so it's a non-factor. As for whether there was any other members, so far the government has come forth with no proof of that.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 23, 2009 6:00:47 PM

Speaking of lenient sentences, the story of the day in Chicago is that a cop who beat a bartender (caught on security camera) only got probation.

Posted by: . | Jun 23, 2009 7:54:01 PM


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 23, 2009 8:56:56 PM

The idea of calculating and documenting the client's actuarial life expectancy, and then suggesting a sentence of one year less than that term, is a very creative argument. Perhaps the best that any defense counsel could have come up with in this case.

Posted by: Peter G | Jun 23, 2009 9:09:25 PM

He needs to be taken to the courthouse basement. A police officer should shoot him in the head with his service pistol. He has outworn his welcome on earth.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 24, 2009 2:16:16 AM

I agree with Peter G. I also found the empirical sentencing analysis interesting.

Do we know what sentence the government is seeking?

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 24, 2009 8:13:43 AM

This defendant has adhered to the time honored edict of the great Prescott Bush--father of President #41 and grandfather of #43. Prescott said this on many auspicious occasions:
'Pilage but be polite'.
Madoff might have pilaged, but he was polite. For that he needs some time off for good behavior. Twelve years is a lot when you are his age.

Posted by: mpb | Jun 24, 2009 8:49:29 AM

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