Tag: white collar crime

Rethinking Draconian White Collar Sentences

Law professor Ellen Podgor had a very thoughtful article, Throwing Away the Key, 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 279 (2007, about the need to rethink the draconian sentences being meted out to white collar criminals.

These modern changes in sentencing and parole law have caused the debate to shift: the question is no longer whether white-collar offenders should do less time than street offenders, but whether they should really be treated more harshly than international terrorists and violent criminals.

The sentences given to white-collar offenders seem oddly imbalanced when compared to those given to international terrorists and violent criminals. For example, eighty-year-old Adelphia founder John Rigas received a fifteen-year sentence, and his son Timothy Rigas, the CFO of the company, received a twenty-year sentence. The white-collar sentencing figures also seem out of line when compared with many state sentences for murder, rape, robbery, and burglary, crimes that find themselves federalized when serving as predicate acts of RICO.

Podgor uses Skilling, Milliken, Ebbers and others as examples, and concludes:

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