• Cooperation Agreements,  Presumption of Innocence,  Sentencing

    Why Innocent People Plead Guilty: Judge Rakoff, Eddie Coyle, Albert Camus and Sweet Dreams of Oppression

    If they give awards for “Best White-Collar Article of The Year,” I wish to nominate one.  And it’s not even, strictly speaking, an article only about white-collar crime. Jed Rakoff is a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York (in other words, in Manhattan).  We have mentioned Judge Rakoff before, here and here.  He also famously criticized DOJ’s failure, as he perceived it, to prosecute individual executives in the financial crisis. Here, he has a thoughtful article on Why Innocent People Plead Guilty. Portions bear quoting at some length: The criminal justice system in the United States today bears little relationship to what the Founding Fathers contemplated, what the…

  • Due Process,  Grand Jury,  Presumption of Innocence

    A Meditation On Independence Day

    We all like the Fourth of July; most of us want it to mean something beyond cookouts and fireworks.  When my children were little, I would read aloud to them the entire Declaration of Independence, an oration they found both alarming and distracting. The nation’s Independence Day celebration has changed over time, as has its people (alarmed or distracted) and their culture. We have an Independence Day in film and in song, works of art that speak to a patriotism grounded in a corporate concept (national independence) and in a citizen concept (individual independence). Here in the early portion of the 21st-century, it is the domestic liberty of individuals, rather…