Clareified

Where does the good go

Judge calls Bernie “evil” and gives him 150 years

This is the case of an old dude who stole money. He confessed and turned himself in, but gets 150 years?

In pronouncing the sentence — the maximum he could have handed down — Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff’s own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff’s lawyers that there was a sense of “mob vengeance” surrounding calls for a long prison term. Mr. Madoff’s crimes, the judge said, were “extraordinarily evil.”

As a lawyer I know it’s disingenuous to compare the two, but Donte Stallworth *killed* a guy while drunk driving and got a month in jail!

Sigh.

I guess it makes me happy that I live in a country where even federal judges in criminal court have no sense of what evil really is.

22 Responses to “Judge calls Bernie “evil” and gives him 150 years”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Intent is kind of a big factor here, isn’t it? Also the scale of damage and the accountability. Stallworth drove drunk and committed an accident, but he didn’t run at the scene and fully cooperated. 30 days might be a travesty, but he made an additional cash settlement with the family which I’m sure was figured into the proceedings somehow. Madoff, on the other hand, committed his crimes for 20 years! He hid from the authorities as long as he could and he had no remorse about stealing from charities! (Not to mention ruining the life’s work of thousands of families)

    One of these people is more evil than the other.

  2. Eric Says:

    Any sentence over ten years for a guy Madoff’s age is purely symbolic.

  3. Jordan Says:

    “As a lawyer I know it’s disingenuous to compare the two…” You are correct, and should’ve stopped there. The differences are too many to count.

  4. tae Says:

    Eh. I think Bernie is pretty effing evil.

  5. Dawn Summers Says:

    Jordan,

    But as a lawyer I also have no problem being disingenuous.

    Jamie/Tae:

    He stole money! Bad thing to do sure, but “evil”? If stealing money is evil, then what do we call genocide or child rape?

  6. Jamie Says:

    If stealing money is evil, then what do we call genocide or child rape?

    We call that evil too. This guy didn’t break a window-pane for a loaf of bread because his children were starving. He stole $65 BILLION dollars from tens of thousands of different investors. He crushed the dreams of thousands of families, forcing them to give up their dreams of retirement after a lifetime of work. He killed off funding for dozens of charities, which in turn closed down youth centers, cancer research programs, meal programs, etc…

    And these victims were not always rich folks who still have $50 million in the bank. We’re talking about people who invested in mutual funds offered by major banks who, in turn, invested their money in Madoff’s fund. Those people are wiped out. In terms of societal damage, Madoff is far worse than a single murderer or child rapist.

  7. KJ Says:

    Eviler.

  8. Dawn Summers Says:

    Eviler

    hahahaahaha KJ funny.

  9. pearatty Says:

    Based on the number of victims, the sentence seems reasonable. If a petty thief got caught 150 different times and ended up spending most of his life in jail on a series of 3-6 month sentences for each crime, that wouldn’t seem outrageous.

    Also, becasue this seems like the kind of crime that is fairly easy to get away with, the deterrence effect to others justifies the sentence.

  10. Dawn Summers Says:

    But he DID get away with it!! He *turned himself in* Talk about deterrence! I’m SO not turning myself in now for anything. Not that I’ve done anything. Cause I didn’t.
    Home. Watching TV.

  11. Jamie Says:

    He turned himself in only to the extent that his crimes were about to be discovered. He was having a run on his fund which he couldn’t handle. This is equivalent to turning yourself in just when the police get the warrant to search your house where they will discover fourteen decomposing bodies.

  12. pearatty Says:

    “He *turned himself in*”

    My understanding is his sons turned him in, or said they would if he didn’t.

  13. Karol Says:

    Wow, we really agree on nothing.

  14. KJ Says:

    Dawn, if you were one of victims 150 years would have been too little for you. Madoff should feel lucky he doesn’t have to respond to Mama Summers.

    And you are right, Stallworth sentence was a joke. There is definitely some intent when you drink and drive.

  15. Eric Says:

    The other piece is we all depend on a functioning financial system, and the financial system is based on trust, at least in part. Anybody who threatens the stability of the system can expect a pretty big sentence.

  16. Ugarles Says:

    Yeah, this guy definitely sounds worse than Madoff.

  17. Dawn Summers Says:

    awww, so he was just unlucky that this happened while he was blitzed.

  18. Ugarles Says:

    Blitzed? He blew a .12! That may be drunk enough for a DUI but it is definitely not blitzed. I’d be stunned if you’ve never driven with higher than .12. I know I sure have.

  19. Dawn Summers Says:

    No, I was being genuine, it does sound like the stupid pedestrian screwed him and unfortunately he had been drinking, but the result would have been the same even if he hadn’t been. My point in comparing them was not that stallworth should have gotten more time, it’s that bernie should have gotten less– it’s MONEY. Ill-gotten monies that, I think, certain people willfully accepted without question and then want to scream and holler for blood when it turns out that the ill gotten gains were illy gotten. Surprise!

  20. Jamie Says:

    So if 150 years was too much, what do you think Bernie should have gotten for his scheme?

  21. Ugarles Says:

    I don’t think it is the victims who invested directly that I feel sorry for as much as the ripple effect that his actions had on charities and in the larger market. It may be “just money” but even if his actions didn’t affect any one person as much as Stallworth did, he profoundly affected far more people than Stallworth did. Keep in mind that Madoff’s collapse didn’t just wipe out the nonsense profits of the victims, it wiped out most if not all of their initial investments, which for many of the people, consisted of their entire savings.

    Also, while many of these investors were rich, they weren’t all sophisticated. You have no idea how much money you can accumulate simply by being cheap and not dying. This isn’t exactly a Jewish joke but it isn’t exactly not, either.

  22. pearatty Says:

    “My point in comparing them was not that stallworth should have gotten more time, it’s that bernie should have gotten less– it’s MONEY.”

    Here’s the other thing — I don’t think white collar crime should be given such a pass. Rich, powerful, well connected people don’t need to beat someone up to steal their wallet. But in terms of how bad their intent is, I think they’re worse than a guy who holds up a liquor store with a gun because he can’t pay the rent, even though one is a violent crime, and one not.

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