Showing posts from July, 2015

New Article - Sentencing the Wolf of Wall Street

I recently posted a new article to SSRN entitled " Sentencing the Wolf of Wall Street: From Leniency to Uncertainty ."  The article, which is based on my presentation during a recent symposium, examines the Jordan Belfort ("Wolf of Wall Street") prosecution as a case study for considering how white collar sentencing has changed from the 1980s to today.  I also delivered a lecture regarding white collar sentencing based on this article at the recent 2015 U.S. Sixth Circuit Conference in Detroit, Michigan. The abstract for the piece is below. This Symposium Article, based on a presentation given by Professor Dervan at the 2014 Wayne Law Review Symposium entitled "Sentencing White Collar Defendants: How Much is Enough," examines the Jordan Belfort (“Wolf of Wall Street”) prosecution as a vehicle for analyzing sentencing in major white-collar criminal cases from the 1980s until today. In Part II, the Article examines the Belfort case and his relatively len

New Article - Defining White Collar Crime

I recently posted a new article to SSRN entitled " 'White Collar Crime': Still Hazy After All These Years ."  The article is authored with Professor Ellen S. Podgor of Stetson University College of Law. Below is the abstract. With a seventy-five year history of sociological and later legal roots, the term “white collar crime” remains an ambiguous concept that academics, policy makers, law enforcement personnel and defense counsel are unable to adequately define. Yet the use of the term “white collar crime” skews statistical reporting and sentencing for this conduct. This Article provides a historical overview of its linear progression and then a methodology for a new architecture in examining this conduct. It separates statutes into clear-cut white collar offenses and hybrid statutory offenses, and then applies this approach with an empirical study that dissects cases prosecuted under hybrid white collar statutes of perjury, false statements, obstruction of justice,

Article - Content and Comprehensibility of Juvenile and Adult Tender-of Plea Forms

For those looking for some summer reading regarding plea bargaining, I recommend Allison Redlich and Catherine Bonventre's article entitled "Content and Comprehensibility of Juvenile and Adult tender-of_Plea Forms: Implications for Knowing, Intelligent, and Voluntary Guilty Pleas." The Abstract reads: The overwhelming majority of criminal convictions in the United States are obtained through guilty pleas. To be constitutionally valid, guilty pleas must be knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. The information the defendant relies on to make a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent plea decision may be conveyed to the defendant through several modes, including but not limited to communication with defense counsel. Here, we address a mode that to our knowledge has previously not been systematically examined—tender-of-plea (ToP) forms. ToP forms are written instruments that inquire into whether the defendant understands and appreciates the plea decision and is capable of ente

ACLU and Koch Industries Partner on Overcriminalization

Politico Magazine has an interesting piece by Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, and Mark Holden, General Counsel of Koch Industries, entitled "A New Beginning for Criminal Justice Reform."  In the piece, the two argue in favor of the bipartisan Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective Justice Act (SAFE Justice Act) introduced in Congress on June 25, 2015 by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and  Bobby Scott (D-Va.). The piece begins: The criminal justice system’s problems are evident all around us. Over the past three decades, Congress has steadily increased the size and scope of the federal criminal code, ensnaring people who have no business being behind bars, without a corresponding benefit to public safety. From 1980 to 2013, the federal criminal code increased from 3,000 crimes to approximately 5,000 crimes. Over the same period, our federal prison population skyrocketed from 24,000 to 215,000 — a 795 percent overall increase — while federal spending on pr

The Dynamics of the Plea Bargain - New York Law Journal

The New York Law Journal has a piece entitled "The Dynamics of the Plea Bargain" that is well worth a read.  The article is an edited version of a speech delivered by Paul Shechtman, partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, on June 2, 2015 at the State University in Albany to the Research Coordination Network on Understanding Guilty Pleas .  The Research Coordination Network is a group funded by the National Science Foundation with the goal of fostering new research on the process that generates guilty pleas.  I am honored to be a member of this group. Paul Shechtman's talk begins: I offer these comments as a lawyer and teacher who has practiced and thought about plea bargaining for more than 30 years. There was a day when I could run a regression analysis but that time is long gone. I will convey my thoughts about plea bargaining by telling you three stories. The first story dates to 1970, well before I began practicing law. That year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Baldw