While acknowledging that all offenses that merit non-trivial jail time (defined here as greater than a two weeks or so) are serious to some degree, I think we can agree that some offenses are less heinous than others. For example, I’d rate Martha Stewart’s insider trading as less reprehensible than animal cruelty, and I’d (hesitantly) rate the animal cruelty as less serious than a repeat DUI.
So, what are some of the milder offenses that can get one enough jail time for the mail to pile up? I know the white-collar stuff is the first thing that springs to mind, but I do hope we can collectively come up with some examples more accessible to the financial rank and file.
Violations of the Endangered Species Act can result in up to a year in jail (and/or a fine of up to $50,000). Specific violations that potentially carry the maximum statutory penalty for the first offense include:
Killing, wounding, injuring, hunting, or capturing an member of an endangered species;
Significant habitat modification or degradation;
Possess, deliver, carry, transport, sell or ship illegally taken threatened or endangered species in interstate or foreign commerce
Fail to comply with the terms and conditions of an incidental take permit
Well, this is going to be pretty subjective. For instance, I don’t think repeat DUI is very mild at all. After all, about the same number of innocent people are killed each year by drunk drivers as were killed in the US by terrorists over the entire last 15 years.
Frankly, I also don’t think white collar crime is mild, either. I mean, is hotwiring a car in order to take a joyride really worse than stealing someone’s retirement savings in order to get a bigger yacht?
I agree on the DUI, though I think it’s arguable that drunk drivers aren’t as extreme offenders as someone like Joel Rifkin. Maybe I’m wrong.
I’d agree with your second statement, too. Hotwiring a car for a joyride is something I’d consider relatively mild, certainly more mild than operating a Ponzi scheme that cost people thousands of dollars. I WOULD argue that something like insider trading is about on a par with said joyriding, however.
I believe there was a case out of Georgia(?) where a high school kid was imprisoned for consensual sex with his girlfriend. Because of their relative ages it was statutory rape. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the details or dig up a cite right now - maybe someone else remembers?