Kagan Stresses Deference to Congress on Federal Sentencing

In her three-day Supreme Court confirmation hearing, nominee Elena Kagan expressed very few views on substantive issues that might give observers a clue as to how she would vote as a Justice. Criminal law and sentencing issues were no exception, as the nominee did not tip her hand much on these matters. One interesting tidbit…

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Has the FBI Gone Too Far in Investigating White-Collar Crime and Fraud?

A recent Wall Street Journal article describing the FBI’s use against suspected financial criminals of techniques normally used to hunt terrorists shows how seriously white-collar crime is being viewed these days.  It also vindicates those who sounded warning bells after 9/11 when Americans were asked to trade civil liberties for the promise of national security. …

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From Federal Prison, Ex-Enron CEO Ponders His Case

On June 25, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its partially favorable decision in Skilling v. United States. Although the Court accepted former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling’s arguments on the reach of the “honest services” statute, it rejected Skilling’s contention that pretrial publicity and community prejudice prevented him from receiving a fair trial. Since his…

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Rubashkin Gets 27-Year Federal Sentence for Fraud

Today, U.S. District  Judge Linda Reade in Iowa sentenced former kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin to 27 years in a federal prison for his conviction on 86 counts of federal financial fraud charges. The prison term will be followed by five years of parole. Mr. Rubashkin will also be required to make restitution of nearly $27…

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A Rubashkin Acquittal: Did the Prosecutor Go Too Far?

Former Agriprocessors, Inc. executive Sholom Rubashkin was acquitted in Iowa state court on Monday, June 7, 2010, on all 67 counts of child labor violations relating to 26 teenagers from Latin America who worked at Rubashkin’s kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The jury reached its verdict during the second day of deliberations. During the…

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Judge Weighs In on DOJ ‘Side Agreement’ With Bank

In a rare occurrence, a so-called deferred prosecution agreement entered into by the U.S. Department of Justice with a target of a criminal investigation has been subject to scrutiny by a federal judge, and the result wasn’t favorable to the government. In fact, a judicial ruling in the case of a fired Miami bank executive…

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Is Google Ready to Protect Our Legal Rights?

Is the government reading your e-mail messages? A routine law enforcement technique of using subpoenas instead of search warrants to obtain e-mail from internet service providers (ISPs) means that literally anyone who uses the Internet risks intrusion from unlawful government surveillance practices. Subpoenas can be issued under a much lower standard than the probable cause…

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Heritage, NACDL Session Weighs In on Criminal Intent

An unusual coalition of the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) recently issued a study entitled “Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.” See this blog’s discussion at Crime in the Suites: Has Congress Eroded the Intent Requirement in Criminal Law? and the discussions…

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Is Virginia Real?

U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia has been in the news of late. Last week, he announced plans to pursue prosecutions of high-profile securities-fraud cases in his district. For years, securities-fraud cases have been, with rare exception, primarily handled by the Southern District of New York. MacBride takes comfort in a…

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