Over at NRO, Mark Steyn on last Friday’s order that Conrad Black report back to federal prison:
With a system that relies on multiple charges and an ability to pressure everybody else in the case to switch sides, you can win (as Conrad did) nineteen‐twentieths of the battles and still lose the war. He’s a wealthy businessman, and nobody has any sympathy for those. But it’s even worse if you’re a nobody. A New Hampshire neighbor of mine had the misfortune to attract the attention of federal prosecutors for one of those white‐collar “crimes” no one can explain in English. The jury acquitted him in a couple of hours. Great news! The system worked! Not really. By then, the feds had spent a half‐decade demolishing his life, exhausting his savings, wrecking his marriage, and driving him to attempt suicide. He’s not a big scary businessman like Conrad, just a small‐town nobody. And he’ll never get his life back. Because, regardless of the verdict, the process is the punishment — which is the hallmark of unjust justice systems around the world.
According to the New York Times report, the judge was moved by numerous letters from inmates who said that Conrad Black had changed their lives for the better. Black wrote about his experience with the American justice system here—spot on.
For Cato work on the Black case, go here (pdf). Still more on the problems in the white‐collar context here and here.