« Rooting for crime and punishment questions at tonight's town-hall Prez debate | Main | Fifth Circuit holds district judge cannot accept plea agreement and then strike appeal waiver provision »

October 17, 2012

"Rajat Gupta Should Walk Free Wednesday"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable commentary by Walter Pavlo in Forbes with a notable sentencing recommendation for a high-profile federal white-collar sentencing scheduled for next week. Here are excerpts:

On October 24, former McKinsey director, former Goldman Sachs director, former Proctor & Gamble director, former American Airlines director, former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation director, Rajat Gupta will stand before Judge Rakoff to be sentenced on criminal counts that he was part of an insider trading scheme. The operative word in describing Gupta these days is Mr. “Former” of everything. His life as a professional is over, but that doesn’t mean it should end with a prison sentence.

Gupta no longer sits as an esteemed member on various boards, nor is he sought after by universities to address students ... he is a convicted felon and now we await the crescendo of this criminal prosecution when the prison sentence is announced on Wednesday. Oh and what a spectacle it will be. There will be so much excitement as court artists will capture the moment in chalk, journalists will make a bolt for the courtroom door to fill in the blank (Prison Years) they have in the stories they wrote on Tuesday, and photographers will grab a photo of Gupta entering and leaving the courthouse. If one photographer is lucky he/she will get one of Gupta and his family crying and hugging outside the courtroom. CNBC, FOX and Bloomberg will recruit some former federal inmate to recount his prison experience so that we, the interested public, understand what the Harvard MBA Gupta will expect upon showing up at some prison. The truth is, Gupta shouldn’t be going to prison at all.

Judge Rakoff has an opportunity to give Mr. Gupta a year or two of probation. Ample punishment has already been doled out to Gupta and prison is just a poor excuse as a way to hold him up as an example to the rest of us. Gupta should be treated fairly and fairness would be sending him home to his family and not to some prison camp that would offer no benefit to society.

Such a sentence will put people on notice that there is justice and fairness in our courts. A justice that takes into account a person’s value to society and the detriment of taking that person away. Prison, in the case of Gupta, would not be a remedy, it would simply add to the misconception that prison is the panacea for all criminal cases. My hope is that Judge Rakoff uses this case and this man to make that statement.

Related posts on upcoming Gupta sentencing:

October 17, 2012 at 07:45 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Rajat Gupta Should Walk Free Wednesday":


"Prison, in the case of Gupta, would not be a remedy, it would simply add to the misconception that prison is the panacea for all criminal cases."

Could someone please name the person who said that "prison is the panacea for all criminal cases"?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 17, 2012 10:18:52 AM

What if Pavlo said "the misconception that prison is the panacea for all FELONY cases"?

Posted by: Thinkaboutit | Oct 17, 2012 10:47:01 AM

Forbes must regularly weigh in whenever a defendant has lost his reputation, arguing forcefully that that is punishment enough, right?

Oh, never mind...

Posted by: Res ipsa | Oct 17, 2012 12:18:00 PM

Thinkaboutit --

Then I would ask basically the same question, i.e., could someone please name the person who said that prison is the "panacea" for "all" felony cases?

Every sane adult knows that neither prison nor alternatives to prison is a panecea for felonies. Public policy in a world of trade-off's does not offer paneceas. It offers a variety of solutions, each of which bears its own mix of advantages and disadvantages, and each of which has the defects of its virtues.

That said, imprisonment has been effective in lowering the felony crime rate. Effectiveness is about as good as we're going to do in a world where so many proffered solutions aren't even that.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 17, 2012 12:24:17 PM

"Ample punishment has already been doled out to Gupta and prison is just a poor excuse as a way to hold him up as an example to the rest of us."

bullshit, doesn't that old saying about "not doing the crime if you can't do the time" apply to "1%"ers too???

Posted by: 99%er | Oct 17, 2012 2:02:58 PM

So if you are wealthy and respected, you are punished sufficiently for stealing a lot of money by the reputational loss associated with the conviction, but, if you are poor and don't hold a prestigious position, you deserve incarceration for stealing a little amount of money.

Good to know the Forbes proposed amendment to the sentencing guidelines. Now where is file 13?

Posted by: tmm | Oct 17, 2012 2:21:55 PM

Going by your article, we don't need prisons in the world, first place. We should send every prison inmate to their home.
Rajat Gupta is just tip of the iceberg. I personally know several white collar criminals in the financial services industry. The difference is that are at large. Rajat got caught. Rajat is a criminal who abused the people who trusted him. He has no moral compass. The smart thing these days is to make hundreds of millions through insider trading and simultaneously build a philanthropic public profile by very publicly sprinkling a million or so here and there.
I am curious to know how much Walter was paid by Rajat to write such columns?

Posted by: Venkatesh | Oct 24, 2012 8:03:21 AM

i like this blog

Posted by: Top Eleven Football Manager Cheats and | Feb 6, 2013 4:56:04 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB