Sentencing Law and Policy lightly commented on the Nacchio case, which is due to be re-sentenced this week. I’ve been semi-interested in the case only because Sean Berkowitz, prosecutor of one Skilling, Jeffrey K. is now defending Nacchio. From the Sentencing and Law Policy blog:
In a court filing pushing for a lighter sentence, Berkowitz portrays Nacchio as a charitable family man who has already suffered enough. “He has lost his career, his livelihood, his reputation, and his freedom,” the filing states. “His life has already been forever changed.”
Wait. You mean Jeff Skilling wasn’t a charitable family man who has already suffered enough by losing his career, his livelihood, his reputation, his freedom and his family? Berkowitz is pleading for three and a half years for Nacchio’s insider trading conviction. Yet when he was prosecuting Skilling, he demanded that justice be done and we chop up Jeff into little pieces and feed him to alligators. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it might as well have been.
I think this just goes to show how soulless the whole process is and how “justice” is whatever you can bargain for – it is less the merits of a case and more the didactic skills of the respective attorneys. Berkowitz wasn’t concerned that Jeff go away to prison for twenty-four years because he believed that Jeff was a threat to society. He wanted him to go away for that long to prove what a great attorney he was. Likewise, now that he’s on the other side of the argument, if Nacchio gets a short sentence, he will call that justice.
It is insidious how little actual guilt or innocence has to do with whether or not a person goes to prison and for how long.