UNITED STATES V. HAYES, AUGUST 15 , 2014
Opinion Summary: Defendant, a business owner, appealed his sentence after being convicted of bribing a state official in order to ensure that his company would continue to receive government contracts. Over a period of four years, defendant doled out over $600,000 in bribes and his company reaped over $5 million in profits as a result of the corrupt payments. The court concluded that the concurrent three-year probationary sentences were substantively unreasonable given the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a): (1) the sentences convey the message “that would-be white-collar criminals stand to lose little more than a portion of their ill-gotten gains and practically none of their liberty,” and accordingly do not constitute just punishment for defendant’s offenses or promote respect for the law; (2) the sentences do not provide general deterrence; and (3) the sentences were not required to eliminate any sentencing disparity among similarly situated offenders because no such disparity existed. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded.
The punishment must fit the crime and sometimes the punishments one is given for a crime is too harsh. While this is a federal case, in states such as AL with Habitual Offender Sentencing and Mandatory Minimums, people can end up serving Life sentences for minor offenses, simply because they cannot keep from committing the crimes.
The Federal system does not have parole. This means that offenders typically serve at least 85 percent of your sentence, many times more than that, before release. Keep that in mind before you commit the crime!
It is my position that Courts and sentencing commissions work on rehabilitation programs rather than longer sentencing for offenders.
What are your thoughts?