As the article (via @Law360) points out, Ex-Massey Exec Gets 42 Months In Mine Blast Case this Massey mining manager pleaded to “pre-notifying” about MSHA inspections (and conspiracy pertaining thereto). It’s interesting that, in his plea colloquy, he was was apparently careful and narrow, almost ascribing a business-culture source for the conduct:
“I’m sorry for what I’ve done — pre-notifying about mine inspections,” Hughart said at his sentencing, according to the Associated Press. “I grew up that way. I accepted it as common practice. I know better now, and I apologize.”
That kind of approach needs to be handled gingerly, though. The larger case landscape is important for sentencing considerations (implicitly, if not explicitly):
Hughie Elbert Stover, Massey’s former security chief, was sentenced to three years in prison in February 2012, after being convicted of lying to members of the FBI and the MSHA as well as directing the destruction of security-related documents in order to stymie the investigation into the causes of the mining disaster.
In March 2012, former mine superintendent Gary May pled guilty to charges that he hid from federal investigators hazards at the Upper Big Branch mine such as excessive coal dust piles and poor air flow. The disaster killed all but two miners working in the mine, making it the worst mining accident in the U.S. since 1972.
The combination of the deaths of the miners; the document-destruction; and the false statements was overwhelming.
Here’s another take (via @WSJ): Former Massey Coal Executive Sentenced to Prison
Don’t argue with your spouse on the edge of a cliff.
If you do, your case (or that of your spouse) may end up like this couple:
Newlywed wife charged with pushing husband off cliff in Glacier National Park.
This case is a federal case because it occurred in a national park. And, it’s homicide, not business crime. But, as the article (via @WSJ) — Accused Montana Newlywed Faces a Wide Range of Punishment — and Sentencing Law and Policy (Professor Berman) point out, it’s interesting because it shows the potential discretion that federal judges have in sentencing.
On the other hand, a substantial majority of the federal bench came of professional and judicial age in an era when the Sentencing Guidelines were mandatory. Sometimes, the court needs prodding from defense counsel that it does, in fact, retain significant discretion. Creativity and persistence is just as important at sentencing as at any other part of a white-collar case.
Using TARP money for the condo — Bank Executive Admits To Using Bailout Funds To Buy Condo — is never a good idea.
The ABA White-Collar Crime Committee often produces good materials, and of course it hosts the annual Institute on White-Collar Crime. Here is the most recent ABA White-Collar Crime Committee Newsletter.
Scan through Walt Pavlo’s white-collar news collection, here — 500 Pearl Street
Note especially the article on “Trump University.”
Professor Podgor makes a good point here: Jesse and Sandi Jackson Sentencing. Courts sometimes don’t sufficiently consider the interests of the children when crafting the sentences of the parents.
Strong points by @waltpavlo on federal prison sentences, here – http://t.co/iYJ1ltd9Jw – and why they won’t drop for white-collar defendants.