Lawyer uses “too fat” defense to try and help client stay out of prison


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/17/lawyer-uses-too-fat-defe.html


#2

Extra! Extra! Over-Weight Con Requests Lighter Sentence!

I suspect a prison diet might increase his life-span.


#3

I tried to put that headline on a spinning newspaper but, there are pending lawsuits…

spinning_paper


#4

Lawyer uses “too fat” defense to try and help client stay out of prison

Twinkie defense gets an update.


#5

I wonder if this is how all those Wall Street Fat Cats stay out of prison.


#6

If you think it’s bad for the criminals, it’s even worse for a victim trying to dial 911


#7

“Too big to jail” is always the defense that the financial criminals trot out.


#8

And why exactly would ‘but it would use up more than half of his remaining lifetime’ be a reason not to send someone to prison? I always thought prison is meant to use up much of the prisoners (life-)time, heck it might even be meant to be somewhat inconvenient, no? You know, it being meant as a severe punishment and all.

I guess being inconvenienced by the consequences of one’s actions is just unacceptable hardship for rich people.


#9

Came here for “too big to jail”, was not dissapointed.

Edited: Not worth a separate post “So you’re saying his lawyer is asking for a leaner sentence?”


#10

I know, right? If the dumbass had committed his crime and been caught and convicted 20 years ago he’d already be a free man today and enjoying his golden years!


#11

Lawyers are supposed to come up with the best defense they can think of. If this is the best, well, he must have a very guilty client.


#12

Just in case anyone is interested in an actual discussion on that point, rather than just taking the excellent opportunity to point and laugh at someone rich going to prison :slight_smile:

The idea that people should be sentenced to terms in prison that are simply not possible to actually serve is so far as I know uniquely American in the modern world. Most civilised countries will amalgamate sentences so that they are served concurrently. America seems have this obsession with consecutive sentences. You therefore have the idiocy of people being sentenced to say 12 consecutive life sentences as if that makes any kind of sense or serves any useful purpose.

In this particular case I imagine the argument would be that the law sets out a tariff of sentencing for certain offences. Those sentence severities are intended to reflect the seriousness of the crime (and in more civilised countries) provide sufficient time for rehabilitation measures.

If therefore you sentence Mr X, a young fit and healthy man to 5 years in jail, given his life expectancy of another 60 years or so, that is a comparatively mild sentence which you would expect to be given for a significant but still relatively minor offence.

You wouldn’t for example sentence him to life in prison for a minor tax fraud or fiddling his parking tickets.

Give a 5 year sentence to Mr Y, the 90 year old with numerous health issues with a life expectancy of “Who knows? Might drop dead tomorrow, almost certainly won’t make it longer than a year or two”, it’s essentially a life sentence.

Justified for murder maybe, for lesser offences? Arguably not so much.

Strictly speaking, the defence part was over. This was an argument about sentence.

What I find interesting about it is that these guys had apparently agreed a plea deal that would have got them 3 years in jail each but the judge threw it out because the defendants were still arguing that their scheme only cost the taxman some $4500 rather than the $millions the IRS were claiming.

Even more oddly, given that the two who set up the scheme have been convicted of tax fraud, the people using the scheme (i.e. the people trying to avoid taxes using what is now determined to have been a tax fraud) are described by the judge in this way:

Merryday [the judge] wrote that no fair-minded or honorable person could have thought such a scheme would succeed. But he acknowledged that the complex tax code is vulnerable to the efforts of a good salesman.

“That these mostly honest, educated, and experienced taxpayers and their savvy advisers believed in, and committed money to, this criminal scam presents an irrefutable and deafening reminder of the extent of the public’s cynicism toward the federal income tax code — a bloated and opaque monstrosity,” he wrote.

“In other words, as the present episode evidences, almost no financial scheme is so suspicious or so implausible that a good salesman cannot convince an honest and vigilant taxpayer that the Internal Revenue Service is prepared to award tax relief to a participant.”

So, apparently no fair minded and honest person could have thought the scheme would succeed but yet the people who put their money in it are still described as “mostly honest, educated, and experienced taxpayers and their savvy advisers” who “believed in” the scheme.

Which is it?

Either the scheme is an obvious fraud which no honest person could have thought would succeed in which case the people who used the scheme are equally guilty of tax fraud or the tax system is so complex that an honest person could believe the scheme might work and they were just innocent dupes of a pair of con-men.

It can’t be both.


#13

When the judge and jury can identify with it, it works. It’s harder to ‘identify with’ non-white men in our society, because media - because fearmongering - because bigoted intolerance that we pretend not to have. This is the entitled white guys response. And it works sometimes, because entitled white guy is the default setting in the USA.


#14

“try TO” help client – Please-- “try TO”


#15

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