• Crime Fiction,  Film,  Privilege,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    White-Collar Motive, Gun Crazy Movie

    In 1950, producers Frank and Maurice King released Gun Crazy, a sometimes surreal Bonnie-and-Clyde story with an introverted, pacifist gun lover (Barton Tare, played by John Dall) and an English femme fatale sharpshooter  (Annie Laurie Starr, played by Peggy Cummins).  Carried forward by his lust for and fascination with Annie, the non-violent Bart — without thinking or planning — becomes a robber and, eventually, an accessory to murder. A classic American film noir, Gun Crazy has merited a book (Eddie Mueller’s Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema) and much commentary by film buffs.  It also gives us insight into a common question in white-collar cases: “Why did he [or she, but usually…

  • Compliance,  Fourth Amendment

    Dude, That’s My Lighter: Lacrosse, Suspensions, the Fourth Amendment and the White-Collar Thanatos of Zero Tolerance

    The relationship between lacrosse and white-collar crime is not obvious, although for much of its 20th century history the sport was powered by mid-Atlantic and New England prep-school products whose high schools also provided several All-American rosters of white-collar defendants.  And even for perfectly lawful activities, there has long been a close relationship between lacrosse and Wall Street, as shown in this 2008 Wall Street Journal article about how On Lacrosse Fields, A Battered Bank Is Still a Player The story of how these Maryland lacrosse players’ case moves into court  raises some curious insights, though, into matters of compliance and internal policing, not to mention Fourth and Fifth Amendment…

  • Sentencing

    Good People, Bad Acts and Intent

    From Professor Peter J. Henning, more on the “why” of white-collar offenses:  When Good People Do Bad Things: That is the conundrum of many white-collar crime cases: successful business people act in ways that put careers and personal fortunes at risk for seemingly modest gains, and sometimes the misconduct benefits their company but themselves only indirectly. (See our earlier post: Why’d He Do It?) This theme runs through many white-collar situations: employees, officers and vendors rarely see themselves as “criminals,” and often act when they are at the end of a rope (their own or someone else’s).  Before you protest that taking “motive” or “context” is being soft on business…