A Ruined Life, and a Plea for Mercy

May 9, 2011 – In The News
Dow Jones Newswires
In many white-collar crime cases, lawyers try to plea with the sentencing judge on their client's behalf, using the excuse that their client's life has already been ruined. But such a plea is hard to sell now that white-collar crime is no longer perceived as a victimless offense.

According to Alain Leibman, these types of arguments "routinely fail." As a federal prosecutor for 16 years, Leibman has heard many defendants use these types of pleas, including in an investment fraud case where the defendant said his daughter would not be able to find a husband because of her father's reputation as a felon.

"The rationale that usually holds is that you should have thought of the consequence before you did whatever it was," said Leibman.