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Crime in the Suites An Analysis of Current Issues in White Collar Defense
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 on the Letter of Apology and the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. On May 24, the foundation hosted a panel to discuss the study’s conclusions that a disturbing trend toward overcriminalization is under way. Panelists included Brian Walsh (Heritage Foundation), Norman Reimer (NACDL), Andrew Weissmann (Jenner & Block LLP) and Eric Grannon (White & Case LLP). According to the study, Congress has passed a significant amount of criminal legislation that is vague, overbroad, and lacking adequate mens rea requirements. During the discussion, the panelists contended that the problems are essentially traceable to one central issue – poor drafting. Panelists were also disturbed by Congress’ increasing delegation of legislative authority to... Read more

New data just out from the U.S. Sentencing Commission seems to show a small but steady trend in federal criminal sentences away from the automatic imposition of the sentence recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The Commission provides preliminary data on a quarterly basis. In the second quarter of fiscal year 2010 (which ended March… Read More

On May 4, 2010, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the following in a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on financial crime: Despite the enormous losses in many securities fraud cases, a preliminary analysis by the United States Sentencing Commission suggests that securities fraud offenders may often receive shorter sentences than other white collar offenders who cause… Read More

On April 30, 2010, David Kernell, son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker, was found guilty by a federal jury of obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer for hacking into then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! e-mail account. Kernell was acquitted on a charge of wire fraud, and the jury deadlocked on a… Read More

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May 26, 2010

Is Virginia Real?

By: Ifrah Law

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… Read More

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May 22, 2010

Is Craigslist Eligible for Immunity?

By: Ifrah Law

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and a coalition of 39 attorneys general have long accused Craigslist of furthering prostitution and human trafficking. Blumenthal’s May 3, 2010, subpoena to Craigslist has reignited the debate over the online bulletin board’s responsibility for prostitution ads posted on its site. Craigslist is clearly fighting back. Its CEO, James Buckmaster,… Read More

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May 18, 2010

What Is Cyberwar?

By: Ifrah Law

At a blue-ribbon Worldwide Cybersecurity Conference in Dallas from May 3 to May 5, 2010, media reports noted that some discussion focused on the use of the term ”cyberwar,” which is often used to refer to the activities of hackers and others who steal online secrets, disrupt computer systems and other infrastructure, and engage in… Read More

On June 22, 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Linda Reade of the Northern District of Iowa will impose a sentence on Sholom Rubashkin, formerly the plant manager at Agriprocessors, Inc., the now-defunct Postville, Iowa, kosher slaughterhouse. The sentencing comes more than two years after a massive immigration raid that netted a total of 289 undocumented… Read More

Last week, bloggers Solomon Wisenberg (Letter of Apology blog) and Professor Douglas A. Berman (Sentencing Law and Policy blog) reported that the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a joint report entitled “Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.” The study — based on… Read More

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