article in the New York Times the other day about his situation shocked me and apparently has shocked the conscience of many former top U.S. law enforcement who have signed and mailed letters to the U.S. District Court judge handling Mr. Rubashkin's plea and sentencing. US. prosecutors who are handling the case of Mr. Ruabshkin are recommending a life sentence for multiple counts of financial fraud relating to bank loans obtained by Rubashkin to try to prop up his failing family Kosher foods processor. The following is an excerpt from Julia Preston's NYT article on Mr. Ruabshkin's case:
"Prosecutors, citing Mr. Rubashkin’s 'blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice,' have asked Judge Linda R. Reade to impose a life sentence.
The proposed sentence startled legal experts around the country. In a letter written to Judge Reade on Monday, six former attorneys general, one former solicitor general and more than a dozen former United States attorneys criticized 'the government’s extreme sentencing position' and the 'potentially severe injustice' that could result.
The former Justice Department officials questioned the interpretation by Stephanie M. Rose, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, of the federal criminal sentencing guidelines that would apply to Mr. Rubashkin’s white-collar crime.
'We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence — or anything close to it — for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender,' they wrote. The letter is signed by Janet Reno, William Barr, Richard Thornburgh, Edwin Meese III, Ramsey Clark and Nicholas Katzenbach, all of whom served as attorney general."
Any follower of this blawg knows that I'm facing judgment for tax evasion, and I have agreed to enter a guilty plea. I hope someday to be beyond the consequences of my blatantly careless acts and I am actively pursuing all steps I can to lessen the impact upon my children. I am not seeking your sympathy, and I can certainly understand any contmept you feel for me as you judge my carelessness and incompetence as a businessman. I freely admit that I wnated to be a trial lawyer and advocate--I did not want to be a businessman. Likewise, I never intended to evade my tax obligations or cheat you, but I did. I fell behind, I got scared, terrified, paralyzed. I truly repent. I repented a long time ago, but I could find no way back, no way out. And even as I tried to bring my self into reporting compliance, it was too late.
My situation obviously makes me empathize with Mr. Rubashkin and really all business people who find themselves in over their heads, . . . and lost. I suspect that many Bad attorneys, doctors, accountants, and other professionals are like me--they start out wanting to do good things with the skills or talents the creator gives them, but as in my case find themselves bogged down with business obligations never anticipated, and paralyzed by a lack of competence, planning or timely assets. Do you really think Mr. Rubashkin who succeeded to his family's Kosher foods business wanted to commit crimes? Ridiculous. Did Mr. Rubashkin commit crimes. Sure. Apparently, repeatedly. Should Rubashkin be punished? Absoulutely. Prison for life? Have we lost our rational minds?
God forbid you find yourself in financial trouble in life, because we have as-the-people enacted laws that are fantastically punitive.