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Discretion in white collar sentencing

People in New York might often wonder how a particular criminal sentence is determined when a person is convicted of a crime. The reality of the matter is that there may be multiple factors taken into consideration. Some crimes may even have mandatory minimum sentences as well as maximum sentences. When it comes to sentencing a person convicted of a white collar crime, judges may have more discretion than they would when sentencing a person for a street crime.

This potential for judge discretion is something that is highly relevant today as it can be seen in action across a range of current or recent cases. As reported by The New York Times, a former advisor to the U.S. President will spend 14 days in prison despite prosecutors attempting to receive a sentence closer to six months. Some may feel this is appropriate in part so the man can resume his life and contribute positively to society. Others point out the price he has already paid and the long-term implications he will experience from having a felony conviction.

Others, however, argue that this sentence is far too light and represents an unfairness in criminal sentencing. This argument has been made in another case where one man initially avoided a prison term after being convicted of fraud so that he could return to work and afford ordered restitution.

Defendants in white collar crime cases generally do not have extensive criminal histories nor pose a serious risk of future criminal activity. These factors may contribute to the sentences they receive.


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