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Untold: Crimes And Penalties

The intimidating patriarch of the Galante family was eventually arrested for his illegal business dealings. Jimmy Galante was charged with crimes including extortion, evading the IRS, and racketeering as well as wire fraud. According to a report by the Hartford Courant, Galante not only sabotaged and strong-armed competing garbage disposal companies; he also tampered with witnesses by telling them what to say in court.

Untold: Crimes and Penalties

Upon completing their second season as a full-fledged hockey crew, it all abruptly ended. James Galante, who had direct ties to the Genovese crime family, who have been cited as part of the inspiration for The Sopranos, was arrested under a massive FBI indictment and was charged with 72 counts of racketeering, extortion, and witness tampering, among other crimes. He ended up serving an eight-year sentence.

It is appropriate to restate our understanding of the requirement that criminal conduct must be delineated with a reasonable degree of definiteness. Commonwealth v. Reilly, 248 Mass. 1 (1924). Commonwealth v. Pentz, 247 Mass. 500 (1924). Fundamental is the premise that a penal statute must be sufficiently well-expressed that those who may be subject to its penalties should not be forced to guess at its meaning. McQuade v. New York Cent. R.R., 320 Mass. 35, 40 (1946). Yet, a statute does not fail to satisfy constitutional requirements merely because it uses general terms. Jaquith v. Commonwealth, 331 Mass. 439, 442 (1954). If the language which is challenged as being vague conveys a definite warning of proscribed conduct--when measured by common understanding and practices--it is constitutionally adequate. Commonwealth v. Jarrett, 359 Mass. 491, 496-497 (1971). Language of statutes, criminal statutes included, may also be given definite meaning when viewed in light of common law interpretations or against the background of the terms' statutory history. Commonwealth v. Balthazar, 366 Mass. 298, 300 (1974). Commonwealth v. Brasher, 359 Mass. 550, 553 (1971).

offence as to constitute a cruel and unusual punishment." McDonald v. Commonwealth, 173 Mass. 322, 328 (1899), aff'd, 180 U.S. 311 (1900). Underlying this principle is "a precept of justice that punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned to offense." Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349, 367 (1910). But in judging legislative determinations of crimes and punishments, we exercise our powers of review with great caution. Commonwealth v. Jackson, 369 Mass. 904, 909 (1976). As we have earlier observed, the Legislature's power to proscribe conduct and to prescribe penalties is necessarily broad and its judgment is to be accorded due respect. [Note 7] Commonwealth v. Jackson, supra. Commonwealth v. Morrow, 363 Mass. 601, 610-611 (1973). Only where the punishment is so disproportionate to the crime that it shocks the conscience and offends fundamental notions of human dignity may we declare a criminal sanction to be in violation of the Eighth Amendment or art. 26. Commonwealth v. Jackson, supra at 910, citing In re Lynch, 8 Cal. 3d 410, 424 (1972).

analysis: (1) the nature of the offense and of the offender, (2) a comparison with penalties of other jurisdictions for the same offense, and (3) a comparison with penalties for more serious crimes within the jurisdiction. Viewed according to this test, the proposed sentencing provisions questioned here, we conclude, are not in violation of the constitutional proscription against "cruel and unusual" punishment.

We begin by examining the nature of the crime of drug distribution and what we may assume to be the rationale for mandatory sentencing. There can be little doubt that the problems connected with traffic in narcotics are serious social concerns. Indeed, criminal narcotics sales are not simply isolated economic transactions. They may be said to form the root of a pervasive cycle of destructive drug abuse, a phenomenon which accounts for untold numbers of crimes of violence and crimes against property. President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: Narcotics and Drug Abuse, 7, 10-11 (1967).

such harsh terms ordered for offenders whose only crime was the possession of a small quantity of narcotics, we would be more hesitant in certifying these penalties under the Eighth Amendment or art. 26. See Downey v. Perini, 518 F.2d 1288 (6th Cir.), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 423 U.S. 993 (1975); Davis v. Zahradnick, 432 F. Supp. 444 (W.D. Va. 1977); People v. Lorentzen, 387 Mich. 167 (1972).

Turning to the other two prongs of the trilateral "disproportionality" test, we correspondingly find no constitutional barrier to enactment of the proposed legislation. The instant drug bills are not unlike severe penalty provisions for narcotic offenses that can be found in other States. See, e.g., N.Y. Penal Law Section 220.21 (McKinney Supp. 1979); N.J. Stat. Ann. Section 24: 21-19 (West Supp. 1979). Similarly, when viewed in comparison to the prescribed penalties for the commission of more serious crimes in the Commonwealth, the suggested mandatory sentences for those found trafficking in sizeable amounts of narcotics do not appear to be excessive. Cf. Carmona v. Ward, 439 U.S. 1091, 1098-1102 (1979) (Marshall, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holdingannounced today that his office has obtained Criminal Complaintscharging 28 individuals with identity theft and various immigrationviolations. These individuals were arrested on August 22, 2007 byagents of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)as part of an operation which focused on individuals who wereworking at the Smithfield Processing plant in Tar Heel, NorthCarolina and who had, as part of the commission of other crimes,transferred, possessed or used the identification of someone elsein violation of federal law. The United States Attorney will askthe federal grand jury to consider these cases in the near future.

The individuals arrested on August 22, 2007 face, among otherpenalties, a sentence of two years imprisonment, a fine of$250,000, or both, if convicted. A Criminal Complaint is acharging instrument and reflects a finding by a federal judge thatprobable cause exists to believe that these individuals havecommitted the crimes charged. All individuals charged today areentitled to a presumption of innocence throughout theseproceedings.

In recent years the US Justice Department has pointed to what it has termed its successful prosecutions of corporate wrongdoing. The penalties have sometimes reached into the billions of dollars. Last year, for example, the Justice Department won a criminal case against the French bank BNP Paribas that resulted in the bank paying a record $8.9 billion fine. But no BNP employee was charged with a crime.

Malloy successfully pushed in his first term for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, a change that he says has led to 6,000 fewer drug arrests. In a law phased in over two years, beginning Jan. 1, 2010, the state also has raised from 16 to 18 the age at which defendants are tried as adults for most crimes.

This article critically examines wage theft by employers from employees. In addition to documenting how wage theft disproportionately affects marginalized workers, the article reveals how seldom these offenses are recognized as crimes and documents the normalization of wage theft through the neoliberal rhetoric that renders it unseen. Overall, we argue that wage theft extends far beyond the intentional, overt nonpayment of wages by atypical employers and encompasses many more insidious forms of stealing workers' time and wages. The article concludes with suggestions for approaching wage theft as an opportunity to actively resist neoliberal morality in all its (dis)guises.

Count two charges the willful failure to set forth certain information in an annual report of the corporate defendant required to be filed with the New York Stock Exchange, in violation of sections 78m and 78ff(a) of Title 15 United States Code, 15 U.S.C.A. 78a, 78ff(a). Section 78m commands every issuer of a security registered on a national securities exchange to file with the exchange, in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe, generally described information and documents, including annual reports, as prescribed by the Commission. Section 78ff (a) provides that any person who willfully violates any provision of the chapter, or any rule or regulation thereunder, the observance of which is required under the terms of the chapter, shall upon conviction be subject to the specified penalties. Thus, the crime consists of the willful failure to set forth identified information required by the Commission in a specified document prescribed by the Commission. Count two adequately incorporates the elements of the crime. It charges three of the defendants by name with willfully and knowingly failing to set forth in an annual report, Form 10-K, prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the required information about the approximate amount of and material interest, direct or indirect, of Lowell M. Birrell, a director and officer of the corporate defendant, in material transactions during a specified period of time and with specified persons. The defendants are fully and fairly informed of the charges they are required to answer, without any further statement of facts showing how the alleged omission was material, what the particular transactions were, or the amount of and material interest of the defendant-director.

The remaining counts have been drawn substantially in the language of the statute and regulations which the defendants are charged with violating, with particularization of generic language. When statutory language alone embodies all the elements of the crime, clearly informing defendants what the charges are so that they are able to prepare their defenses and plead the judgments in bar of any further prosecutions for the same offense, it is sufficient. United States v. Debrow, 346 U.S. 374, 74 S. Ct. 113, 98 L. Ed. 94. United States v. Achtner, 2 Cir., 144 F.2d 49; United States v. Palmiotti, 2 Cir., 254 F.2d 491; United States v. Varlack, 2 Cir., 225 F.2d 665. The situation is otherwise, of course, where the statute itself omits an essential element of the offense or includes it only by implication. See Robertson v. United States, 5 Cir., 168 F.2d 294, 295. In United States v. Carll, 105 U.S. 611, 26 L. Ed. 1135, for example, an indictment alleging in the words of the statute that the defendant, feloniously and with intent to defraud, did pass, utter and publish a falsely made, forged, counterfeited and altered obligation of the United States, but not further alleging that the defendant knew it to be false, forged and counterfeited, was insufficient. The knowledge of the defendant was an element of the crime. It was, however, not specifically recited in the statute, but inferred by the court as the intent of the legislature. The indictment, therefore, set forth in the statutory language, was insufficient because it omitted an element of the crime. An indictment that does not allege all the elements of the crime is not cured by an allegation that what was done was "in violation of" the statute. Alabama Packing Co. v. United States, 5 Cir., 167 F.2d 179. And if the statute includes generic terms, describing only the general nature of the offense, statutory language is insufficient. *271 For example, in United States v. Hess, 124 U.S. 483, 8 S. Ct. 571, 573, 31 L. Ed. 516, the statute (R.S. 5480, 18 U.S.C.A. 1341) was directed against "devising, or intending to devise, any scheme or artifice to defraud", to be effected by communication through the post office. The particulars of the scheme are matters of substance, and an indictment drawn in the statutory language, without alleging any particulars of the scheme, omitted a necessary element of the crime. By these principles, I have concluded, the remaining counts of the indictment are sufficient. Basic facts are alleged in statutory language that contains no fatal omissions, and insofar as generic statutory language is employed there is ample particularization, so that the essential elements of the crimes are alleged in a manner that fairly apprises the defendants of the nature of the charges and enables them to protect themselves from subsequent prosecution for the same offenses. 041b061a72

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