2. But it’s sad that Lay and Skilling were convicted only of stealing from their stockholders, not the stealing they did for their stockholders, e.g. in the California energy market.
3. Isn’t it amazing how little mention has been made in the mainstream press about the strong personal and political ties between a convicted felon and the President of the United States? I haven’t seen a single mention of the fact that when Lay was looting California, the Bush Administration stood squarely behind him, chanting the mantra “Market! Market! Market!”
4. Can Democrats in Congress to figure out a way to force a vote on demanding all the records relating to Lay’s participation in Cheney’s Energy Task Force?
5. Lay and Skilling will likely die in prison. I’m all for hammering white-collar criminals, but that seems excessive to me. Thirty-year sentences should be reserved for people who are too dangerous to let out. (And yes, I believe that about blue-collar offenders and drug dealers, too.)
6. Given the drastic fate that awaits the two convicts, letting them run free from now to September, without even ankle bracelets, seems like a virtual invitation to escape, especially if they have enough stashed away in gold bars or numbered bank accounts to bribe the officials of some reasonably comfortable third-world country. In addition, given that their sentences will, given their ages, effectively be of infinite length, that’s an extra five months of freedom that they haven’t really earned. Why should it take five months to look up the sentencing guidelines?
[Prof. Bainbridge seems inconsistent on this point. He argues convincingly that the two men might well have the capacity to flee. Their motivation for doing so could hardly be stronger. He reports that their chances of beating the case on appeal are somewhere between slim and none. But Prof. Bainbridge rebukes Jack Cafferty of CNN and calls him “anti-business and anti-capitalist” for, among other things, complaining about the release, pointing out that the bail reform act provides for incarceration pending sentencing or appeal unless the defendant isn’t likely to flee and has meritorious grounds for appeal.]
7. As the top conspirators at Enron, Lay and Skilling didn’t have the option Fastow and some of the other smaller fry had, of “cooperating” against their superiors. Skilling looks to be in a completely hopeless position. But Lay might not be. A reduced sentence can be given for “cooperation” not only against other participants in the criminal scheme in which a defendant was charged, but in any other criminal case. For example, if Mr. Lay has information about criminal acts by — just to pick a couple of names at random — George W. Bush or Richard Cheney, now would be a good time for his lawyers to get busy preparing a proffer.
8. Prison rape isn’t funny, even if the potential victim is someone you really, really despise. On the other hand, joking about it isn’t as bad as fostering it, which the policies of most of this country’s prison and jail systems do. One nice thing about sending rich criminals away is that it helps generate conservative support for prison reform.