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The Challenging Terrain of White-Collar Sentencing

The Challenging Terrain of White-Collar Sentencing

June 3, 2024

The Challenging Terrain of White-Collar Sentencing

By: James Trusty

Federal judges are required to balance a number of factors whenever imposing sentence, including specifically enumerated areas that largely stem from the broader philosophical categories of General Deterrence, Specific Deterrence, Retribution/Punishment, Restitution and Victim Impact, and Rehabilitation. In determining the presumptively reasonable range of potential sentences, federal practitioners consult their always-handy U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which create a sentencing range grid based upon the offense characteristics and the offender criminal history. Believe it or not, that is all the easy part. In some cases, such as the prosecution of Samuel Bankman-Fried (“FTX”) the job is even more complicated, particularly due to the high-profile nature of the case and a backdrop of uncertainty as to whether victims will be made whole financially….

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Punishing the Parent – Should the Parents of a School Shooter Be Criminally Liable for their Parental Failures?

April 16, 2024

Punishing the Parent – Should the Parents of a School Shooter Be Criminally Liable for their Parental Failures?

By: Abbey Block

Can being a bad parent make you a criminal? A jury in Michigan recently answered yes in the case of Jennifer and James Crumbley – the parents of high school mass shooter, Ethan Crumbley. Although neither Mr. nor Mrs. Crumbley fired a single shot during the school shooting that killed four students (and injured six other people), last week they were each sentenced to ten…

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Was FTX Collapse as Bad as Enron? In sentencing SBF, Judge Kaplan Says Yes

April 1, 2024

Was FTX Collapse as Bad as Enron? In sentencing SBF, Judge Kaplan Says Yes

By: Jeffrey Hamlin

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, 32-year old Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history—a fraud perpetrated through two cryptocurrency entities he founded—FTX and Alameda Research. In late-2023, a jury convicted him on various conspiracy and substantive counts for wire fraud on FTX’s customers, securities fraud on FTX’s customers and investors,…

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No Need for Speed

December 14, 2023

No Need for Speed

By: James Trusty

In most U.S. District Courts, the trial date for a defendant who is not incarcerated is typically many months—and often easily over a year—from the time of his or her initial appearance after indictment. Many trials are resolved by plea agreements without ever having set a “real” trial date. There is lip service to the constitutional notion of a Speedy Trial, and the easily avoidable…

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Human Trafficking Blindspot

November 27, 2023

Human Trafficking Blindspot

By: James Trusty

For many years now, state and federal prosecutors have become increasingly aware of the insidious nature of sexual and labor trafficking. Victimization is cultivated by strong, threatening, and cunning traffickers. Gangs have increasingly turned to sex trafficking as a source of illicit income with low visibility—a trade that does not “bring the heat” to the criminal enterprise in the same way that drug trafficking and…

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Equal Justice as Another Casualty of War

November 9, 2023

Equal Justice as Another Casualty of War

By: James Trusty

While many Americans properly focus on the carnage and chaos of two wars, there is also a more subtle war being waged by progressive mayors—and others in high positions—on fundamentally important notions like Rule of Law and Equal Justice. Last weekend over 100,000 protesters descended upon Washington, D.C. to chant and vandalize as a bewildering show of support for Hamas, an entity that demonstrates its…

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Reading the Plea Leaves

October 25, 2023

Reading the Plea Leaves

By: James Trusty

Are guilty pleas in Fulton County confirming the righteousness of Fani Willis’ RICO prosecution or do they reflect an inherent frailty of the case, even in a venue where jurors largely can be expected to instinctively support a prosecution of high-profile Republicans? A close look at the recent plea agreements suggests that prosecutorial victory laps are premature. While the indictment itself has joined the ranks…

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Not a Grande Victory for DOJ

September 13, 2023

Not a Grande Victory for DOJ

By: James Trusty

Frustrated with the massive influx of aliens into Texas, Texas Governor Greg Abbott came up with a plan that was physically simple, but legally complex: drop a 1000-foot-long buoy barrier into the middle of the Rio Grande. The four-foot spherical orange buoys were chained together and anchored to the riverbed near the town of Eagle Pass—a sector that reported 270,000 encounters with migrants during the…

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