Monday, September 19, 2005

White Collar Crime

In white collar crime legal circles, it is often suggested that white collar criminals are somehow deserving of lesser sentences because of the hardship imposed on their families, or the stigma they must endure from the conviction. When it comes to criminal CEO's, I guess it's harder for the family at the top to give up two or three homes, access to the company jet, and half of their domestic staff, than it is for the family of a blue collar criminal to go on ADC. (And just look at all the sincere contrition in Mike Milken's official biography.)

Here's another one - after a criminal CEO loots a company, diminishes its value for shareholders (perhaps destroying employee retirement accounts in the process), and maybe even puts it out of business... a long prison term is unnecessary because "Their positions of power have been stripped from them and they are unlikely to have the ability or power to ever be a menace to society again." Hm. As were the positions of the cops who tortured Abner Louima.

Oh, but "that's different" because it's assaultive behavior. (And it's different from a Jean Valjean, who will always have the temptation of grocery stores from which to steal.) Well then, one word: Deterrence.

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