WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

FEDERAL STUFF

We know this is more the milieu for our favourite federal blogger David O Markus, but this really disturbs us:

Former Enron boss Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced yesterday to 24 years for his leading role in the Enron fraud that led to the energy firm's 2001 collapse

Here's what's on our mind:

1) The loss was enormous. Many ordinary people lost their savings and retirement money.

2) Mr. Skilling's life is ruined. He will be out of prison in his late 70's - a broken man. A life wasted by his crimes and mistakes, and a legal system bent on vengence.

Our legal system should be better and more wise then the people it punishes.

While Mr. Skilling has no one to blame but himself, we believe the sentence was way out of line.

3) What’s the difference between Mr. Skilling getting out of prison in 2017 as opposed to 2031? Would the punishment and the prison sentence’s deterrent effect be any less effective?

Enron was the product of more than one person. Yet Mr. Skilling has been sacrificed on the alter of vengeance demanded by politicians who flocked to the issue of corporate fraud to garner votes.

As criminal law practitioners, we have occasion to visit our clients in jail. No one likes it. The officers are difficult to deal with at best. Now imagine dealing with that for 3,654 days, 24 hours a day.

Isn't that enough? Can you think of any business executive, who seeing what Mr. Skilling has gone through, would not think that losing everything and being sent to prison for ten years, plus fines, restitution and supervised release would not be sufficient to be a deterrent to crime?

We understand that in the past stealing with a pen was treated leniently as opposed to stealing with a gun. But there is a qualitative difference.


We think even a casual review of the Enron mess would reveal that these people did not start out to bilk everyone out of their money. What happened is that when things went bad, the people in charge were not able to stand up and take the heat.
They saw their life's work going down the drain, and in a misguided effort to save it, they lied, which caused investors to lose money.

That is definitely a serious crime. The crime merits punishment.

But not a punishment that amounts to life in prison.

Prison sentences over 15 years should be reserved for violent or potentially violent individuals.

In our view, Mr. Skilling’s sentence is twice as harsh as we believe would be necessary to both punish and send a message to deter future conduct.

But what do we know?

However, our favourite Bard knew this:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
Tis mightiest in the mightiest:
it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.

The Merchant Of Venice.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you nuts? Skilling and Enron destroyed the lives of thousands of people. He should never get out.

These executives have been living and playing above the law for to long. None of them think they can or will be caught. And, in the off chance they are, they all think they can hire a top notch defense lawyer and beat the charges. The punishment has to be sufficient to deter people who think the risks are low and the potential benefits beyond our wildest dreams.

David Oscar Markus said...

Also note that other Enron executives received the following -- much less harsh -- sentences for pleading and cooperating:

Andrew Fastow -- six years.

David Delainey -- 2 ½ years.

Paula Rieker -- 2 years probation.

The bottom line is that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were set up to keep people from going to trial and to pressure them to plead guilty.

Booker and Blakely were supposed to help... And those decisions actually have started to have an impact in other white collar cases. For example, James Olis (Dynegy) was sentenced to 6 years even though his guideline range started at 15 years.

The judge in this case refused to vary from the guideline range, which in the Fifth Circuit means that the sentence is presumptively reasonable. It looks like he'll be spending the good part of his life in a medium security federal prison...

Anonymous said...

judges hand time out like candy. very few have any sense of what a just sentence is. in this case however, i agree with the 24 years as punishment. when you steal peoples $$ you steal their freedom.

Anonymous said...

Start from nothing, work your whole life to amass a million dollars-only to have it stollen from you by a greedy pig.
I love these rich, liberal, rich kid lawyers-with no sense of coming up from dirt, who are outraged by a stiff prison sentence for a rouge CEO. The other men who received lesses sentences cooperated and did not roll the dice. On the streets, if you crap out-you loose.

Anonymous said...

9:27 -- What does "liberal" have to do with it? Skilling was a Carl Rove Republican conservative, who along with Ken Lay, was part of George W's crowd. I think his sentence should have been enhanced for his longstanding association with the criminal enterprise known as the Texas Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

What about all the blacks who do life for a crack rock. i don't here you liberal jewish men crying for them. That cracker got what he had coming to him.

Anonymous said...

to 10:16:

was the "jewish" part necessary in your post? Wouldn't liberal have made your point? That was a very racist comment and you should have enough class to apologize.

Ralph Arza said...

YEAH!

Anonymous said...

Rumpy:

Have you ever lived in a 10,000 square foot home? No, well, Skilling has. Ever have $50,000,00 in cash and securities in the bank? No, well Skilling has.

Have you ever worked your entire career, as a middle class stiff, saving all your retirment money in the company name because your bosses were promising you that "it was all good"; only to lose everything and now be near or at retirement age and have only a social security check to look forward too? No, well thousands of people are in that situation because of the criminal activity of Skilling.

According to court filings, the employees collectively lost more than $1 billion in savings plans. "Their lives have been shattered in ways that most Americans are fortunate to have never experienced," they wrote in a letter seeking restitution.

So, Rumpy, I have a quote for you:

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime".

Anonymous said...

i wrote the 10:16 missive and it was a parody. lighten up francis.

rudy crew said...

rudy crew said:

Francis, call me Francis, and I'll fuckin kill ya.

Call me a nigga and I'll fuckin kill ya.

Anonymous said...

What did Ken Lay get?

Anonymous said...

If i am correct, it is the true liberals who are fighting for the poor and prosecuting people like Skilling.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I believe, that those of us who have defended, particularly for a long time, forget how much pain some of these criminals cause. What is it like to have your teenage son murdered, your child molested? It is a wonder there are not regular fights in the halls of the REGJB.When someone puts a lot of money in your pocket to defend them you have to say nice things about them and downplay what they did. Some attorney use this blog to practice their skills. PEOPLE LIKE SKILLING used their greed to destroy a company, have thousands lose their jobs and retirement money, caused suicides and depression, caused divorces, alcoholism, drug addictions, foreclosures, diminished confidence in Wall Street, stocks and corporate America etc. ALL BECAUSE A FEW ASSHOLES WANTED TO HAVE 5 HOMES AND BE BILLIONAIRES.

Anonymous said...

Ken Lay's punishment was death.

Anonymous said...

I like what the judge said during sentencing,

"His crimes have imposed on hundreds, if not thousands, of people a life sentence of poverty,"

Hopefully, he'll die in prison, along with Ebbers from WorldCom and Kozlowski from Tyco. Then the next time a mega-millionaire CEO starts to think about fattening his net worth at the expense of middle class Americans who put thier entire financial future in company pension plans and company stock, he'll be guaranteed a life sentence when he gets caught.

It's just too bad Lay had to go and die before he could experience the misery of prison.

Anonymous said...

"If i am correct, it is the true liberals who are fighting for the poor and prosecuting people like Skilling."

You're not. I'm a true conservative on crime issues. Skilling shot spend the rest of his life behind bars. Many of the liberals think he deserves a break because of the usual.

In the liberals' world, only the average person deserves a harsh sentence. Everyone else has a mitigator.

Anonymous said...

to david oscar marcus:
what is you point?

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I understand this correctly. Enron was a big fraud. The people who worked there (employers and employees alike) made money off the fraud and put it into a company stock retirement fund. The company fraud got busted, so the company and its retirement plan became worthless. The executives go to jail. But somehow we should feel sorry for the employees who lost their retirement money that they earned from a company that made profits by committing fraud. And if the company had not made profits through fraud, it would just have folded and everyone would have lost their jobs and no one -- not even the lowliest employee -- would have had the big pension plan in the first place. So why are we supposed to feel badly for the Enron employees?

Anonymous said...

to 2:34

Last I checked, the employees had no idea that Lay & Skilling were cooking the books.

Anonymous said...

2:34........how about all of the people who invested in Enron?

dolphin999 said...

Hey, ASA & APD's, does this sound familiar:

Jad Brewer graduated law school in 2003 and became a prosecutor with the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office. He also is among 26 prosecutors who have left the Orange-Osceola office this year. The Orange-Osceola Public Defender's Office lost 25 attorneys. Officials say the problem isn't new and isn't going to get better. Law schools are churning out more attorneys with massive student loans. Central Florida is a booming region, and with that growth comes more crime -- and more cases to the courthouses. Last year, authorities made more than 1 million arrests in Orange County alone. At the same time, private law firms are enticing new attorneys with higher salaries -- and state agencies can't compete.

CAPTAIN OUT .............

CAPTAIN said...

Hey, who is trying to impersonate me; and I am not a dolphin fan

Warren Schwartz said...

I'm doing just fine but thanks for your concern.

Rumpole said...

HERE IS MY POINT: Do you think Skilling and Lay and the top people all met one day and said "hey, lets form a company, take it public, and after ten years lie about the profits so we can steal?" Of course not. This was not designed to be a scheme to defraud people. When the company went bad, they made bad decisions that were in fact crimes. But who among us has not made a bad decision? Who among us, when faced with the loss of everything they worked for might not choose a path to try and save the company that cut corners? It's not right, and Skilling should be punished for the harm he did. A sentence that amounts to life? At what point does it become enough punishment. 2012? 2015? 2020? When is enough enough? My point is 24 years is too much. 10, 12, 15 is more than enough to punish and prove your point.

Rumpole said...

PS. I appreciate Mr. Markus's comments and apologize for stepping on his federal toes.

Anonymous said...

Rump...bad decisions? They did not decide to invest in one company and lose some money...they did not decide to turn left instead of right...They created fake transactions to cover up money they were losing because they were making so much money. They created fake companies to hide the losses. The lied about the strength enron had--all for money that they were making.

Anonymous said...

Skilling will be on W's pardon list when he leaves office in a couple of years.

Rumpole said...

The bad decisions- creating fake transactions, to try and stop the loss of the company, is what I am talking about. He appears to be guilty. The question is how much punishment is enough?

Anonymous said...

rumpole stepping on toes, huh NEVER...

Anonymous said...

The courts can't punish Skilling enough. He ruined thousands of lives trying to protect his over the top lifestyle. He deserves to suffer.

Anonymous said...

24 years in prison for skilling??? you don't say. dubya, i'm sure, is going to pardon him when he's passing out pardons like candies to babies. don't worry about skilling and the likes of him. Those employees will rebuild their lives eventually -- well, hopefully. they're still alive. and does anyone out there think KEN LAY is really dead or did he fake a heart attack to avoid spending a few years behind prison. inquiring mind needs to know. that's no so far-fetched, is it???????????

Anonymous said...

why is no one talking about the other circuit court races and only chatting about mendez endorsements?

what is the position of those legal minds on the other two circuit court races. Don't start complaining after Nov 7, when another dud is elected.

Anonymous said...

can someone please visit this web site and tell me if the picture is Rothenberg at a CFC event recently

http://www.mdccc.org/101606%202006%20Primary%20Elections%20Victory%20Breakfast-photos.asp

Anonymous said...

vote parks, fernandez, sanchez.

Spy said...

Just wonderin about the very married Judge and very married PD (both well over 40) dancing the night away saturday night at Mynt with a bevy of 20 something beauties.

Rumpole said...

A reader said-
Last year, authorities made more than 1 million arrests in Orange County alone.

rumpole says that can't be right. A MILLION ARRESTS? Thats like 80 thousand a month, 20 thousand a week, 2-3 K a day. No way.

Anonymous said...

Marissa and Bienstock are the only candiates that told the CFC to go fuck themselfs.

The others have bent over for the CFC and endorsed Hate and Discrimination. All aboard the Rothenberg hate wagon.

Anonymous said...

June 27 -- AOL "pop-up" class action. In Florida, Miami-Dade County Judge Fredricka Smith has granted class action status to a suit against America Online, purportedly on behalf of all hourly subscribers who viewed the service's "pop-up" ads on paid time. Miami attorney Andrew Tramont argues that it's wrong for subscribers to be hit with the ads since they're paying by the minute for access to the service (at least if they're past their allotment of free monthly time), and "time adds up" as they look at them -- this, even though most users soon learn it takes only a second to click off an ad ("No thanks") and even though the system has for some time let users set preferences to reduce or eliminate pop-ups. The case seeks millions in refunds for the time customers have spent perusing the ads. According to attorney Tramont, "the practice amounts to charging twice for the same product. 'AOL gets money from advertisers, then money from subscribers, so they're making double on the same time,' he said."

Please don't anyone call to his attention the phenomenon of "magazines", or we'll never get him out of court.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain, where did you get that information from. Post the link. 1,000,000 arrests?

Anonymous said...

I guess the information was reported by the Orlando Sentinel, but that can't make it right. Interesting read. Check it out. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-turnover2306oct23,0,6855120.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-orange

Anonymous said...

we have interest in whats going on in the Orlando SAO?

Jeez

Anonymous said...

7:37 p.m. asked:
Can someone please visit this web site and tell me if the picture is Rothenberg at a CFC event recently

http://www.mdccc.org/101606%202006%20Primary%20Elections%20Victory%20Breakfast-photos.asp

The answer is: Yes Leslie Rothenberg is pictured on that website at what appears to be a candidates' event, described as a primary victory breakfast.

If you look closely, you will also see photos of the following judges apparently in attendance: Judge Tony Marin, Judge Barbara Areces, Judge-elect Patricia Marino-Pedraza, Judge-elect Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer, candidate Marisa Tinkler Mendez and more....

Anonymous said...

rumpole you are way out of line on this. some idiot gets reveresed heroin and gets a 25 year min man. some gort burglar breaks into a yeard steals a bike get 40 years. those are injustices.

this guy masterminded the biggest corporate fraud in history. thousands lost their pensions as he lived it up. he should be put in a cage for the rest of his life.

gee what a shock fed markus thinks this is unfair. he probably thinks its too harsh that murderers go to prison for decades. he is after all the guy who dedicated his website to the ochoa brothers

Anonymous said...

10:17 pm I went back to the link and you are right Marissa is at the event also.

That is odd given she refused to support the CFC and is endorsed by SaveDade.

Marissa if you read this could you please explain your decision to attend this CFC event?

Thank you a concerned voter.

Anonymous said...

OperationRestoreJustice.com is also supporting her.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION CENTRAL:

T-14 DAYS and counting and Dade County will soon have another three new jurists on the bench, another three new judges for Rumpole to make fun of, (whenever they should deserve the friendly jabbing).

A very interesting contrast has developed with 3 of the 6 candidates (Fernandez, Schurr & Mendez) spending lots of money and the other 3 running campaigns on the cheap. Let's see if the money does matter?!

Here's what the numbers look like as early voting opened up this week:

COUNTY COURT - GROUP 43

JOE FERNANDEZ

Raised/Loans - $117,482
Expenses - $ 85,021

MICHAEL BIENSTOCK

Raised/Loans - $ 54,300
Expenses - $ 52,205

Bienstock's money comes almost entirely from his own pocket. He just recently loaned his campaign $19,000 and has put in a total of $51,000 of his own money, with only $3,300 coming from supporters.

CIRCUIT COURT - GROUP 78

VALERIE MANNO-SCHURR

Raised - $ 37,815
Loans - $ 250,100
Expenses - $ 230,658

JOSE SANCHEZ-GRONLIER

Raised - $ 8,850
Loans - $ 9,250
Expenses - $ 14,918

CIRCUIT COURT - GROUP 80

MARISA MENDEZ

Raised - $ 72,460
Loans - $ 135,005
Expenses - $ 156,416

CATHY PARKS

Raised - $ 9,350
Loans - $ 10,000
Expenses - $ 15,777

So, in the infamous words of none other than Al Capone, don't forget to "vote early and vote often". Of course, good old Al also said, "You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun." Both quotes seem so appropriate for Miami-Dade County.

CAPTAIN OUT .............

Anonymous said...

great job captain.

Rumpole when will you be posting endorsements

Parks money went down since primary why?

Anonymouse said...

For those of us who don't like the
second class treatment we get north of the border, there are a couple of things we can do about it because we have two people running with their roots in Miami Dade who could help shake things up up there, who both came in first in the primary:

Michele Towbin Singer, in Circuit
Court, former PD, Group 57 www.micheletowbin.com
Terri Ann Miller, in County Court
www.miller4judge.com, Group 32

It's not too late to contribute,
and more importantly, tell any
clients, contacts and relatives to vote for them. Send e-mails and ask people to pass it on....

NOte: Both of their opponents are part of the good ol' boy system (even though one is a woman, she is Judge Ross's hand picked fave)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Towbin will really improve the system in Broward.

As someone with family there, I sure hope she handles her cases more appropriately and works harder as a judge than she did as a PD.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to Judge Ward for taking action on a problem Judge Leifman exposed. read todays herald piece:

TUSSLE PERSISTS OVER MENTALLY ILL INMATES

When the Department of Children & Families refused to take custody of a mentally ill inmate at the Miami-Dade County Jail, despite two court orders, Circuit Court Diane Ward went one step further.

On Tuesday, Ward ordered jail officials to drop Daniel Fontecha off at the nearest DCF facility immediately.

But the Third District Court of Appeal halted the process late Tuesday.

The legal wrangling comes at a time when more than 300 jail inmates statewide are on a DCF waiting list to get into mental health treatment facilities.

The Miami-Dade public defender's office has filed a series of suits claiming conditions in the jail are inhumane for the mentally ill, and asking judges to force DCF to take custody of the inmates who were ordered into state care.

The appellate court is holding a hearing in early November to consider Fontecha's case and several others.

Anonymous said...

this does not show anything but different sites to visit:

http://www.mdccc.org/101606%202006%20Primary%20Elections%20Victory%20Breakfast-photos.asp

Tyr posting something that works for us to view. thanks

Anonymous said...

vote parks, fernandez, sanchez.


No thank you!

Anonymous said...

Could George Bush possibly pardon Skilling? The Bush family, of course, is very popular in Texas and George Sr. lives in Houston. Most of the burned investors and employees are Texas residents. Usually pardons are reserved for people that are a bit less demonized. Pardoning Skilling in Texas would be like pardoning Ted Bundy in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who votes for Teri Ann Miller in Broward should be shot.

Anonymous said...

Rump - my question to you is - doesn't the fact that Skilling was
not willing to cooperate and in fact continued to deny his guilt,
despite overwhelming evidence against him, warrant a much stiffer
penalty against him?

He has shown a lack of remorse, a lack of accountability, and a lack of compassion. Would a sentence of
10 years, in which he had hope of getting out, actually serve to send him a message? Or would a 10
year sentence allow him to continue his denial and lack of
accountability?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please visit this web site and tell me if the picture is Rothenberg at a CFC event recentl

****
What for did you lose your glasses or contacts. Who cares! For a minute I thought, I was no longer living in the U.S.A.

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