Trial penalty

Discussion in 'Law & Justice' started by kazenatsu, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    Have any of you ever wondered why anyone would plead guilty to a crime they did not commit?

    Well the following story will help answer that question (even though both the perpetrators in this case may well have been guilty).

    Marian Morgan and her husband John were arrested for a $28 million Ponzi scheme. John plea bargained for 10 years. Marian went to trial and got a 35 year sentence.

    They both committed the same crime, in fact he was probably more involved in the crime than his wife. But she chose to take her case to trial.

    The story starts off:

    Convicted in September for running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme from her Sarasota mansion, Marian Morgan on Friday was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.

    That's more than twice as long as the sentences for two other notorious Sarasota-based fraud perpetrators — Arthur Nadel and Beau Diamond — even though Morgan's scheme involved fewer victims and less money overall....

    Defense attorney Todd Foster argued that Morgan, 57, would be unlikely to turn to crime again if released after 15 to 20 years. The judge countered that recidivism would not be an issue because of the length of the sentence.

    A federal pre-sentencing report recommended Morgan's prison time be based on the size of the fraud; the number of victims; and the sophistication of the crime, among other criteria. Morgan and her husband, John, stole roughly $28 million from 87 victims, prosecutors said during trial.​


    What looks on the surface like it might be an ugly example of so-called sentencing disparity, upon closer examination appears more like it may be an ugly example of the so-called trial penalty. Consider these additional details:

    Morgan and her husband were indicted last summer on 22 felony counts that included wire and mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Their Ponzi scheme came to light shortly after two others that were also hatched in Sarasota — Nadel's Scoop Management and Beau Diamond's Diamond Ventures scams.

    Diamond was convicted at trial of stealing more money than the Morgans and from more investors. He is currently serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison in Miami. Nadel robbed more than 400 investors of $162 million, prosecutors determined. Instead of going to trial, Nadel plead guilty to 15 felony fraud counts and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in October 2010. He died earlier this month in North Carolina at age 79.

    In contrast to his wife, John Morgan received a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to a pair of felony counts. He also agreed to co-operate with prosecutors — which included providing information against his wife....

    Marian Morgan, who as managing director of Morgan European Holdings had the most interaction with investors, was defiant to the end. She turned down a plea deal last fall that would have limited her sentence to 18 years, choosing instead to go to trial....

    Morgan's victims were lured by the promise of monthly double digit returns, with payoffs as short as three months in some cases. Instead, investors received only frequent emails from Marian Morgan, which promised payments were to arrive soon. She also offered detailed explanations concerning delays, and later in the scheme threatened that investors would never see their principal again if they contacted authorities....

    Morgan plans to appeal her sentence through Tampa defense attorney Barry Cohen. Long and other victims have alleged the money to pay both Cohen and Foster may have come from investors in the Ponzi scheme. Morgan will likely be imprisoned well into her eighties, even with time already served in Pinellas and time off for good behavior.​

    http://sentencing.typepad.com/sente...bout-white-collar-sentencing-disparities.html


    The Cautionary Instruction: The trial penalty
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  2. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    This is from an article about an FBI agent who released information to press reporters he wasn't supposed to:

    In theory, Albury could receive up to 20 years in prison for the two felony counts. However, he’s likely to receive a substantially shorter sentence under federal guidelines that include provisions shortening the recommended sentence when defendants plead guilty.​

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/17/url-fbi-agent-leak-guilty-530518

    One of the pieces of information revealed by Albury was the agency's secret rules for targeting members of the press with so-called "National Security Letters". These controversial letters are court orders that force telecom companies (like Verizon or AT&T) to hand over information or take part in spying, and comes with a gag order so that they are not legally allowed to disclose to anyone else they were served with such a letter, keeping it all completely secret.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  3. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    Ohio Supreme Court Weighs in on "Trial Tax"

    On February 9, 2017, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral argument in the case of State of Ohio v. Malik Rahab, 2015-1892. At issue is the propriety of a "trial tax," a penalty imposed on a criminal defendant for exercising his or her right to a jury trial. Since Justice Fischer sat on the appellate panel that heard this case, he has recused himself from this appeal, and Judge Marie Moraleja Hoover, Fourth District Court of Appeals, was appointed to sit in his stead.

    Appellant Malik Rahab was charged with burglary for entering a residence at night by opening a window from the outside, reaching inside, and stealing a purse off a table. After rejecting a plea bargain of a three year sentence in exchange for pleading guilty, Rahab decided to have his day in court, despite a warning by the trial court that the court would not look kindly on this, and that if found guilty, the sentence "would probably" be more. Rahab was then convicted of burglary by a jury, and sentenced to six years in prison, three more than he would have served if he had accepted the plea deal. At the sentencing, the judge said this: "You went to trial, you gambled, you lost. You had no defense…You did this. You had no defense and you wouldn’t take responsibility. You wanted to go to trial. All right, big winner you are. Six years, Ohio Department of Corrections."

    On appeal, Rahab argued that his sentence was contrary to law because he was punished for exercising his constitutional right to a jury trial. While finding that the comments made by the trial court at sentencing were both inappropriate and unnecessary, the First District Court of Appeals nonetheless unanimously affirmed the sentence. The appeals court found that the record established that the sentence was properly based on Rahab’s extensive past juvenile history, and the facts of the case, including trauma to the victim, rather than as a punishment for exercising his right to a jury trial.
    http://www.legallyspeakingohio.com/...g-right-to-trial-state-of-ohio-v-malik-rahab/


    related thread: Teen turns down plea deal for 25 years in prison, gets 65 years instead
     
  4. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018

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