Monday, June 29, 2009

Justice Served

The day of reckoning for Bernie Madoff is here.
The prosecutors have asked for 150 years, but the victims as well as the rest of society will not be satisfied unless they hear the word life come out of the judge's mouth.
In my opinion, it should. Madoff, through his unrelenting greed, took people's lives. Perhaps not as directly as taking a knife and stabbing them, but already two suicides have been reported linked to the Madoff scheme, and any number of charitable organizations have folded their tents and closed their doors, depriving innocent people of the help those charities would have provided, in a "thousand points of light" fashion.
The 150 year sentence pre-supposes that the judge agrees to consecutive sentences on the maximum term for anyone of the eleven counts, 15-20 years. The defense will ask for concurrent sentencing, meaning as he serves one term, he serves all terms, and Madoff could be out in less than a decade.
Given Judge Denny Chin's record, I do not think it is likely that Madoff will get off easily. I do not expect he will sentence Madoff to 150 years, either, and in this case, he has the option to go off the reservation and come up with a different sentence, although that could be an appealable error, dragging this case out, and keeping Madoff relatively free for years.
Madoff is only 71 and looks to be in reasonably good health. The people he robbed are not so lucky. Life would be a fair and just sentence, in my opinion.

UPDATE: Surprisingly, altho only mildly, Judge Chin agreed with the prosecution recommendation and sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison, to be served somewhere in the Northeast.

The actual prison will be determined by the Federal Prisons Board, but under Chin's recommendation. That he specified the northeast tells me he wants Madoff to suffer in the winters and summers. No Miami Beach for him.

The transcript of the liveblog of the sentencing was interesting to read:

"Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil."

"The breach of trust was massive."

"I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows."

"By any of these monetary measures, the fraud here is unprecedented."
In the end, while Madoff made a plea for leniency on his own behalf, Chin was unswayed, and mentioned the lack of supportive testimony and/or affadavits attesting to Madoff's character.

In other words, a shitty man dealt a shitty hand and got shit-canned.