Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't Throw Away the Benefits of Your Bargain

The WSJ Law Blog is reporting that Bill Lerach, the plaintiffs lawyer who is serving a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to participating in a scheme to pay kickbacks to lead plaintiffs, was recently transferred from a prison camp to a medium security prison. The transfer stemmed from his having offered his San Diego Chargers season tickets to a guard at the camp outside Santa Barbara earlier this year. Lerach's new home will be in Phoenix and will likely include double fences with electronic detection systems and cell-type housing rather than dormitories.

No one is going to argue that a prison camp is nice, but it is certainly more comfortable and safer than a medium security facility. Further, the move takes Lerach further from his home and medium security facilities typically have more restrictive visitation policies. One must assume that his placement in a prison camp in California was one of the factors he considered when deciding whether to accept a plea deal. Offering tickets to a prison guard seems to be an obviously inappropriate act for a prisoner and a careless way of throwing away some of the benefits of his bargain.

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