Showing posts from February, 2010

Sixth Circuit Rejects Victims' Plea to Reject Corporate Plea Agreement

The Sentencing Law and Policy Blog has an interesting post regarding a recent 6th Circuit opinion that denied the victims' request that a corporate plea agreement be rejected. Below is a portion of the decision. This petition for a writ of mandamus and a related appeal arise from the proceedings in United States v. Arctic Glacier Int’l Inc., No. 1:09-cr-00149 (S.D. Ohio). In that case, Arctic Glacier International was charged in a criminal information with violating 15 U.S.C. § 1 by participating in “a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating packaged-ice customers in southeastern Michigan and the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area.” The petitioners describe themselves as “nine consumers and one business that paid too much for packaged ice as a result of Arctic Glacier’s offense” based on purchases both within and outside of the geographic area of the offense. Their civil action for damages is pending in the Eastern District of Michigan. In re Packaged Ice

Nadel Pleads Guilty in Ponzi Scheme

Arthur Nadel, founder of the Scoop Management hedge fund in Sarasota, Florida, has pleaded guilty to fifteen counts relating to his having run a Ponzi scheme. According to reports, Nadel disappeared for two weeks last year after authorities began investigating allegations that he had stolen money from his investors. Further investigation revealed that Nadel had raised over $350 million from 370 investors. While he informed the investors the fund's investments were returning double digit gains, the fund was actually losing money. Although investors were told the fund had over $360 million, it contained less than $125,000 at the time of its collapse. According to an article from Bloomberg : Florida money manager Arthur Nadel pleaded guilty to fraud 13 months after he disappeared for two weeks in January 2009 as state authorities began investigating investor complaints about missing money. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in New York accepted the guilty plea today. Nadel, 77, founder o

Breaking News - Zazi Pleads Guilty in Plot to Blow Up Subways

The New York Times is reporting that Najibullah Zazi has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges after admitting to his involvement in a plot to blow up NY City subways. He admitted that he came to New York around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to kill himself and others on the subway, to draw attention to the killing of Afghan civilians by the United States military. Mr. Zazi appeared before Judge Raymond J. Dearie at Federal District Court in Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder overseas, and providing material support for a terrorist organization. He faces a sentence of life in prison... Throughout the 45-minute proceeding on Monday, Mr. Zazi seemed unaffected by his circumstances, even smiling on several occasions. And when he spoke, he did so in an unapologetic, matter-of-fact manner. “I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the United States military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan,” he s

Breaking News - Zazi to Plead Guilty to Terror Charges

Numerous sources are reporting today that Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant labeled one of the most serious threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks, has agreed to plead guilty to terrorism charges later today. According to the New York Times , Zazi will appear before Judge Raymond J. Dearie at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn at 2:30pm to enter his plea to charges of conspiracy to detonate bombs in the Unites States. Mr. Zazi, who was born in Afghanistan and was raised in Pakistan and later Flushing, Queens, where he attended high school, was working as an airport shuttle driver in Denver when he was arrested in September 2009. The federal authorities said he had received weapons and explosives training at a Qaeda camp in Pakistan, bought beauty products that contained the raw materials to build a bomb and traveled to Queens with bomb-making instructions in his laptop on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Two people with knowledge of the case said that

Professor Berman on a Comic Book Plea Deal

Over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Professor Doug Berman has added some interesting comments about plea bargaining and sentencing differentials to the end of a blog regarding a man who pleaded guilty to violation of the 2003 Protect Act and was sentenced to six months in prison for importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality. With regard to the decision of the individual to plead guilty, Professor Berman stated: Because I am not a First Amendment guru, I have no strong sense of whether Christopher Handley's prosecution and conviction for importing the wrong kind of comic books from Japan should be considered constitutionally problematic. But, as a sentencing guru, I do have a strong sense that the threat of a much longer (guideline recommended?) sentence after any trial likely prompted Handley to plead guilty and to apparently forego whatever constitutional defenses he might have had available.

The Case Against Plea Bargaining

This is the title of an interesting article I found from the Cato Institute back in 2003. In the piece, Timothy Lynch argues that plea bargaining is unconstitutional. A link to the article is here , and a brief portion of the argument is available below. Plea bargaining has come to dominate the administration of justice in America. According to one legal scholar, “Every two seconds during a typical workday, a criminal case is disposed of in an American courtroom by way of a guilty plea or nolo contendere plea.” Even though plea bargaining pervades the justice system, I argue that the practice should be abolished because it is unconstitutional... Thomas Jefferson famously observed that “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” The American experience with plea bargaining is yet another confirmation of that truth. The Supreme Court unleashed a runaway train when it sanctioned plea bargaining in Bordenkircher v. Hayes. Despite a steady media d

New Article Regarding Plea Bargaining in Terrorism Cases

I have just posted my new article entitled Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of Terror: Plea Bargaining During the War on Terrorism and the Dual Chambers of the Plea Bargaining Machine on SSRN (link here ). An abstract of the article is contained below. ABSTRACT While obtaining the exact number of defendants who have pleaded guilty to terrorism or terrorism related charges since September 11, 2001 is impossible due to the federal government’s refusal to release such information, it is estimated that there have been several hundred convictions of which over 80% resulted from a plea of guilty. While this plea rate for terrorism cases is certainly lower than the plea rate for other federal offenses, which on average has remained above 95% for almost every year since 1999, a plea rate in excess of 80% is remarkably high given the psyche of those who would engage in the acts being prosecuted. This article seeks to understand why a terrorist would plead guilty and, by the same