Has anyone ever been too smart to put in jail

Not so much that they could escape from any jail, but have there ever been people who were considered so innovative that putting them in jail would be considered a waste of human potential, even if they broke the law?

With the wall street crimes, the attorney general said arresting and charging wall street criminals would destabilize the economy, so he didn’t want to prosecute charges against them. I don’t agree with it, but he was saying the rule of law doesn’t apply to people who are too important in the financial industry.

Lets say in a situation like the manhattan project, what if one of the most innovative nuclear scientists had decided to start committing armed robberies. Wouldn’t authorities look at how innovative that person is and decide it would be better to not charge them and send them to jail?

Has anything like that ever happened? Someone was too innovative, creative and brilliant to be allowed to be put in jail to rot.

I could see it happening in a time of war for someone working on a secret weapons project or an extremely talented general, but I don’t know if it would happen outside of that.

Johnny Ramensky was a safe breaker who made a good reputation for himself during WW2. He went back to his old ways though, and spent a good deal of his post war life in gaol.

Alan Turing was never gaoled, but the threat of it was likely to have driven him to suicide. A brilliant man, who not only was behind the solving of the German Enigma machines, but also a leading figure in computer technology, hounded to death because of his sexuality.

Lots of Nazi scientists.

George W. Bush? He was arrested three different times which, had they all been in California, might have qualified him for life without parole.

That wasn’t because he was so smart, it was because of his connections.

And rightly so. Not jailed I mean.
IIRC, the treatments that he underwent were an attempt by the powers that be to save him from jail.

I’d say this is a good example. A lot of these scientists committed acts which could have gotten them prosecuted as war criminals. But the winning governments decided they’d rather put the scientists to work.

I don’t know if you’re being serious or not, but you can’t be imprisoned for life in California for having been arrested three times. That’s not how the Three Strikes Law works. Originally it imprisoned anyone with a third conviction, no matter how frivolous the third conviction, if there were at least two serious priors. It was later amended that the third strike needed to be serious or violent.

I accept that… they were different times, but I still think he was very poorly treated.

What were any of GWBush’s arrests for, that would have qualified as one of the Three Strikes (even under the prior version of the law)? And doesn’t Texas also have a Three Strikes (or Two Strikes?) law?

I don’t know what GWB’s arrests were for, but I’ve got the impression that one (or more?) of them was for DUI? If so, is that considered a Strike under California’s Three Strikes law? What were his other arrests for? DUI also? Were any of his arrests for such crimes as could have put him away for any length of time?

I am certain it wasn’t his brilliant intellect that kept him out of jail. Alan Turing he wasn’t. I don’t know of any significant intellectual contributions he made to society. I agree with the above remark, that it was his connections.

I thought it was just a Hollywood meme, but perhaps not…

Hackers being offered probation and a law enforcement job instead of jail. Seems Uncle Sam needs their talents for cyber security.

Certainly true.

It’s also worth noting that Turing could have avoided his fate. Friends told him that he should call in some favors he was owed for his wartime service and have government officials intercede on his behalf. But Turing refused as a matter of principle, feeling that he shouldn’t get any special treatment that wouldn’t be available to other homosexuals.

OJ Simpson?

It took a while before he ended up behind bars, in beautiful Lovelock, NV.

I don’t know what “smarts” OJ had that would answer the OP’s question, or even what value he had to society as an athlete, given that he was already pretty much a has-been by then.

The reason he got off is either because the prosecution wasn’t able to pull together much of a case, even after nine months of trial, and/or because they made such a total clusterfuck of it. Mainly the latter. To be sure, OJ’s wealth bought him a lot of “justice” too.

I am not a huge fan of Mr. Holder, but that’s not what he said.

He said that prosecuting the corporations presented that problem, but not the PEOPLE:


Moreover, a later clarifying comment from Mr. Holder claimed that even his demur about companies was misunderstood. No idea how much credence you wish to give to that claim.

That was an answer to the thread title. The Simpson situation shows it’s not whether you committed the crime, but also how good a lawyer team you can buy. Just as you said.

He did have societal value because of his fairly recent accomplishments on the field, but that did not come into play in determining the verdict.

Frank Abignale - inspiration for the hollywood movie “Catch Me If You Can” - was released early from prison on the condition that he help federal authorities investigate fraud cases.

Feynman’s hobby during the Manhattan Project was safe-cracking. Nobody prosecuted him for it, and I doubt that he would have been jailed. And he was pretty definitely smart.

Enron’s executives were famously termed “The Smartest Guys In The Room,” and they went to prison.

Major Robert Rogers, founder of Rogers Rangers in the French and Indian War. From Wiki:
“The war broke out in the midst of Robert Rogers’ counterfeiting trial. The colonial government decided it needed experienced frontiersmen more than it needed to punish counterfeiters; hence, the charges against Rogers were dismissed”