Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Qwest sentencing: Did the crime, doing the time?

The WSJ Law Blog yesterday discussed the conviction of Joe Nacchio, the former chief executive at Qwest on multiple counts of insider trading. He is set to be sentenced on July 27 and prosecutors are calling for a 10-year sentence plus $71 million in fines and restitution.
In response:

Nacchio’s lawyers countered the government on Friday, arguing that Judge Edward Nottingham should consider the perilous health of two of Nacchio’s family members before agreeing to the 10-year sentence. The motion doesn’t identify the family members, and Nacchio’s lawyer wasn’t reached by the Post for comment..The government’s sentencing statement said a departure from guidelines is warranted only where the defendant is the only one able to provide assistance to a family member.

Aging relative or not, the comments to the blog debate the appropriateness of the 10-year sentence for a white-collar crime. Not to minimize the crime itself: The reality was brought home to me by posters who had lost 80% or more of their 401Ks thanks to the insider trading.

Others might argue that the ex-CEO is not a physical danger to society and that fines alone should be enough for proper restitution and to "make whole" the plaintiffs.
Not knowing enough about the law, I can't comment. But I, like others, will be following the developments in the case with interest.

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