The Dartmouth Observer

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Saturday, July 17, 2004
What are the Courts trying to prove?

In addition to the five months in prison, "Stewart also was ordered to spend five months confined to her home and was fined $30,000. She was allowed to remain free pending appeal. The sentence was the minimum possible under federal guidelines."

Should the justice system be about mercy? "Defense lawyer Robert Morvillo had asked the judge for a sentence of merely probation and community service working with poor women. He said Stewart "knows she's not perfect" and deserved mercy."

Given the unnecessarily punitive sentences that lesser felonies, drug dealing/possession, and the crimes oftentimes committed by poor people receive, one can only wonder whether white collar crime, a la Ken Lay of Enron, Martha or her stockbroker should be punished more severely.

CBS News opines:
It is a sentence that ought to educate Stewart about how being tough doesn't necessarily have to preclude someone from being compassionate. Even though Cedarbaum gave Stewart prison time, she didn't give her the maximum 16 months possible under the federal sentencing guidelines. Instead, she gave her near the minimum sentence possible while still ensuring some hard prison time. And even though Cedarbaum remains convinced that Stewart was fairly tried and convicted by overwhelming evidence, she was willing and able to recognize that Stewart has "suffered, and will continue to suffer, enough."
Concerning Ken Lay, "If convicted of all counts, Mr Lay could face up to 175 years in jail and fines totalling $5.75m. Bail was set at $500,000 by US magistrate Judge Mary Milloy, rejecting a request from prosecutors to post bail at $6m on the contention that Mr Lay is a flight risk."

A possible beginning to being "tough on coporate crime"?