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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘sentence’

Rubashkin’s Inflated Sentence

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

We are hopeful that a motion recently filed by lawyers for Sholom Rubashkin, former CEO of what at the time was the country’s largest purveyor of kosher meat, will result in a substantial reduction in the draconian sentence of 27 years in federal prison he received in 2009.

The 27-year figure was ostensibly based on the provisions of the standard recommended federal sentencing guidelines judges ordinarily look to when imposing prison time for financial crimes – the greater the greater amount taken, the greater the prison sentence – although they frequently choose an upward or downward departure from the prescribed times.

Mr. Rubashkin was convicted of bank fraud and money laundering. He was said to have caused the banks he did business with to suffer $27 million in losses when he was unable to fully pay back loans he fraudulently obtained. And his sentence was based on the sentencing judge’s interpretation of the guidelines.

But his lawyers now say that federal prosecutors improperly made it impossible for Mr. Rubashkin to repay all of his loans. They say the prosecutors caused the value of his company to go down from $40 million to $8.5 million by intimidating potential buyers and not allowing experienced members of the Rubashkin family to work for any new owner – a very big selling point.

Had he been able to take an offer of $40 million offered by one investor, he would have been in a position to pay back substantially more of the loans and his recommended sentence would have been roughly three years.

Although these issues have been raised before, they were dismissed when prosecutors denied any purposeful efforts to deflate the selling price. However, Mr. Rubashkin’s lawyers say they have located “overwhelming evidence” of prosecutorial misconduct in the form of records of intimidation of buyers and the “no Rubashkins” policy – both leading to the substantial reduction in the sale value of Mr. Rubashkin’s company and causing a radical increase in his recommended sentence.

Indeed, one potential buyer, echoing several others, said in an affidavit that prosecutors were threatening and hostile to them: “We ultimately decided not to purchase the business, in large part because of the threats from the government.”

Sholom Rubashkin has already served about seven years of his 27-year sentence. His lawyers have presented strong arguments – at least on their face –that he should have drawn a term of approximately three years. In any event, he was given a sentence that stands out among those imposed for similar economic crimes.

We are hopeful the court will take this opportunity to see to it that the sentence is substantially reduced. But we would also suggest that perhaps it is time for the prosecuting authorities to reflect on what has been wrought here.

It cannot be ignored that Mr. Rubashkin’s company was a principal target of PETA, which alleged that his company systemically mistreated animals. He was in the middle of a fierce battle with a local labor union. His company was accused of mistreating its immigrant workers. A “kosher standards” commission of the Conservative Jewish movement targeted his company, claiming it could not be considered kosher because such matters as its policies on employee vacations, hourly wages, and coffee breaks did not meet the commission’s own preferences.

In sum, he was an easy and inviting target. Indeed, it is no small thing that the current Rubashkin motion is supported by former federal judges and U.S. attorneys general and that his earlier efforts to get the Supreme Court to review his case were supported by no fewer than 80 former federal judges.

James Reynolds, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, where the Rubashkin prosecution took place, has labeled the prosecutors’ actions “insidious.” He went on to say that “had this kind of unfair, underhanded, and unnecessary misconduct occurred during my tenure, you can be absolutely certain that the perpetrators would have faced consequences, the very least of which would have been the loss of their job.”

Editorial Board

Iranian Filmmaker Awaiting 233 lashes Sentence over Documentary [video]

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Iranian independent filmmaker of Kurdish origin Keywan Karimi, 33, was sentenced back in 2015 to 223 lashes for his documentary, “Writing on the City,” about graffiti in the capital Tehran. “Writing on the City” is a 60 minutes documentary film Karimi produced in 2012 and completed in August 2015, which has never been shown to Iranian audiences, other than its trailer on YouTube. It has since been shown at film festivals in France, Spain and Switzerland.

Hamid Dabashi, author and Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University called the film “an excellent documentary on the evolution of graffiti in Tehran over the last three decades plus,” and said that “Keywan had brought the narrative of those graffiti down to the aftermath of the Green Movement of 2008 with an acute sense of history and aesthetics.”

And Belgian writer Raoul Vaneigem wrote, “The wall is a mirror / A mirror of the house, of the city, of the world / Reflections of every shape and form stream by it as clouds do in the sky / We have learned to go through the mirror so what was closed will open up / The freedom of the walls breaks down the prison walls / When reality is unveiled, dreams become reality / Under the clothing of creeds and of ideas, what is lived is always bare / Then nothing more conceals a human being from himself / Someday the walls will have the transparency of our desires.”

Understandably, Iran’s authorities were not amused. In December 2013, the Revolutionary Guard showed up at Keywan’s house with an arrest warrant. They took him, his hard drives and other confiscated materials to Evin Prison where he was interrogated and kept in solitary confinement for two weeks. He was released three weeks later on $100,000 bail. After eight court appearances over two years, on October 13, 2015, Keywan was sentenced by the Islamic Revolutionary Court to six years imprisonment and 223 lashings for “propagating against the ruling system” and “insulting religious sanctities.”

Five out of the six years’ sentence were suspended in response to international protest, that included Iranian directors including Jafar Panahi (Taxi Tehran), who also spent time behind bars courtesy of the Islamic State, and exile Mohsen Makhmalbaf (The President).

Nevertheless, the prison authorities are now demanding that Karimi’s punishment of 233 lashes be carried out. “I am waiting for them to come for me,” he told AFP this week. “The support I have received helps break the solitude and solidarity from the film world also warms my heart.” He added that “the fact that my artistic activity is seen as an act of political opposition says a lot about the situation in Iran.”

JNi.Media

Numerous Associates Sentenced to Prison with Former PM Ehud Olmert

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Several other associates of former prime minister Ehud Olmert were sentenced to prison Tuesday and fined millions of shekels, along with the ex-politician.

Of 13 top public officials and business leaders who were charged in the affair, 10 were convicted on March 31 of charges of bribery, moral turpitude, money laundering and more.

The guilty sentenced today (Tuesday) were:

Dan Dankner,  former chairman of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank. He is currently joint chairman of Israel Salt Industries. Dankner was convicted on charges of offering hundreds of thousands in bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Dankner was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 1.5 million.

Hillel Cherney, developer of Holyland, the residential complex project that started the nightmare in the first place. He was convicted on 19 charges of corruption and additional charges of breach of trust.  Cherney was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 2 million.

Avigdor Kelner, another developer of Holyland. He was convicted of two charges of corruption. Kelner was sentenced to three years in prison and fined NIS 1 million.

Meir Rabin, a real estate developer. He was charged with mediating the bribery between developers and government officials for Holyland. Rabin was sentenced to five years in prison.

Uri Sheetrit, a former Jerusalem municipal engineer. He was charged with taking bribes. Sheetrit was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Eliezer Simchayoff, a Jerusalem city council member. He was convicted on two counts of bribery and immediately suspended himself following sentencing, pending the outcome of his appeal.  Simchayoff was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 300,000.

All are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court within a few days.

Others convicted but not sentenced today are:

Shmuel Dachner (deceased), before his death in March 2013 represented Holyland real estate developer Hillel Cherney. Dachner turned state’s witness and gave testimony that formed the core of the case against most of those convicted in March.

Shula Zaken, former top aide to Olmert. Zaken was convicted on charges of corruption and was closely associated with nearly everything the former mayor, minister and prime minister did. She made a plea bargain arrangement with the state that has reportedly led to a prison term of 11 months. She will be formally sentenced this coming Thursday, May 15.

Uri Lupolianski, was assistant mayor to then-Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert and then succeeded him in the post. He was convicted on charges of offering  bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Lupolianski, in poor health, will be sentenced on June 9.

Fines are to be paid in 10 installments, according to the court decision.

Hana Levi Julian

Russian Human Rights Council to Review Jewish Teacher’s Graft Sentence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

Farber was a director at the club.

Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”

JTA

Weberman’s Sentence: Justice Has Been Served

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the length of convicted pedophile Nechemya Weberman’s 103 year prison sentence. According to an article in the Forward comparisons are being made to the sentence given to Leiby Kletzky’s brutal murderer, Levi Aron, of 40 years in prison.

A lot of people are asking where is the justice in that?

I am not one of those people. In essence Weberman got a life sentence. At age 54, 40 years would have pretty much meant the same thing. I have also heard that the appeals court will often reduce the sentence by half.

It should also be noted that the deranged Levi Aron’s sentence was the result of a plea deal, that spared Leiby’s parents and relatives the ordeal of a trial where they would have had to relive every painful moment of that terrible tragedy. And a plea deal saved the state the expense of a trial.

Weberman, on the other hand continues to proclaim his innocence. Pedophiles are gifted liars that can convince their peers, friends and family of their complete innocence. Fortunately his lies did not convince the jury or the judge. But – his community still believes him.

His trial forced the victim to relive all the painful sexual abuse she endured for over four years at the hands of this monster. And the fact is that she too has a life sentence of untold pain from those memories.

So, no I am not particularly bothered by this harsh sentence. He can still say Tehilim in prison, just as he did during the trial. He will not be having nightmares. Unless they put him together with the general population of those prisons. Prisoners have standards too and they don’t take kindly to pedophiles. Weberman may get a taste of his own medicine there. He can still say Tehilim though.

For me – justice has been served for his victim and hopefully all future victims. Pedophiles ought to take a hard look at what happened here. And victims will now know that if they press charges – sometimes good things happen.

Unfortunately this is not the way certain segments of Orthodoxy will see this. This accomplished liar – with his ‘explanation’ of why his accuser brought these ‘false’ charges against him is still believed. He has convinced most of his peers including their leader that these charges are the result of a vendetta by the accuser who is herself immoral and “Off the Derech.” She should therefore not be believed.

They also fully believe that a Chasid cannot get a fair trial in America anymore. And they have some pretty prominent people saying that – pointing to the 27 year prison term Shalom Rubashkin received for a white collar crime they saw as undeserving of such a harsh sentence. A view corroborated by many distinguished Americans.

This is how they see what happened with Weberman. An innocent man has been convicted because of his beard and peyos. They will point to what they will say is an over the top sentence of 103 years to prove their point. Of course if the sentence were only 27 years (like Rubashkin’s sentence) he would still be in prison until he was in his eighties.

I can’t wait to see how Ami Magazine treats this verdict. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they saw it in the way I just described.

The bottom line for me is that no one should see this sentence as excessively harsh. Instead they should see this as a victory for the abused.

Harry Maryles

Time To Let Jonathan Pollard Go

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Jonathan Pollard’s long incarceration has taken its toll and he is now seriously ill. While he is not the first inmate to suffer in this manner, most are given consideration for compassionate early release. It in no way diminishes the severity of his crimes to suggest he should be sent home. His sentence was Draconian, as attested to by a growing number of former senior federal officials, including several from Congress and the intelligence community.

In this connection, we were disappointed that retiring Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who in the past pointedly refused to get involved with the issue, still does not seem interested – this despite his call for Congress to have “mercy” on United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who has been heavily criticized for her statements after the Benghazi attack. The circumstances are obviously very different but we were struck, nevertheless, by his compassion for Ms. Rice, which stands in such stark contrast to his disinterest in Mr. Pollard’s plight.

Several years ago his Senate colleague, New York’s Charles Schumer, said in an interview after being asked about his reported review of the classified Pollard case file:

Pollard should have been punished, he spied on the United States. But the sentence he received is disproportionate. When I got the top-secret briefing you alluded to, it didn’t teach me anything that I didn’t know from open sources.

Sen. Lieberman once told an interviewer that he had had “a classified briefing” in the matter and noted that “Pollard did some terrible things” – though he also acknowledged that “he’s been in a long time…but if you’re asking if I’m going to get involved, no.” When pressed further he said,

He’s been in a very long time. Our system of justice unfortunately sometimes produces results like this. Two people, even in the same state, can both be charged with murder and convicted of murder. One gets a life sentence for some reason and maybe that is commuted to 25 years; the other gets executed. I mean, that’s just the way it is.”

Mr. Lieberman’s words speak for themselves.

Editorial Board

Terror Suspect Pleads Guilty to Attempted Attack on NYC Synagogues

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Ahmed Ferhani, one of two men arrested in an undercover sting in May 2011 and charged with attempting to blow up synagogues in New York City, has pled guilty, and now faces a sentence of 10 years in prison.

The 27 year old Algerian said in a prepared statement that “By targeting a synagogue … I intended to create chaos and send a message of intimidation and coercion to the Jewish population of New York City, warning them to stop mistreating Muslims.”

Justice Michael Obus is expected to sentence Ferhani to 10 years, significantly less than the 14 requested by the prosecution, and will likely be deported after serving his time in jail.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/terror-suspect-pleads-guilty-to-attempted-attack-on-nyc-synagogues/2012/12/05/

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