Please allow me to present manhattan’s new quick and easy handbook: How to Exercise Prosecutorial Coercion Using the Plea Bargain Process. The industry and the particulars have been changed to protect the innocent. But it happens not infrequently (fortunately, I hasten to disclose, not to me).
Defendant is accused of doing something stupid and illegal but minor. Say, Failure to Maintain Adequate Maintenance Records at an Airline.
There is no actual evidence that the Maintenance Records were not made out, just that they were lost or misfiled or whatever.
There is evidence, from part numbers and from inspection of the relevant aircraft, that the maintenance was actually done.
Normal penalty for this sort of thing is a $10,000 fine and increased inspections for the next year.
Airline’s Chief Safety Officer made Regulators look stupid at Congressional hearings last year.
Regulators propose imposing maximum fine of $1 MM, a consent decree and replacement of the Chief Safety Officer.
Airline and its executives stupidly choose to appeal the proposed remedy, further angering Regulators, who kick the matter over to Justice.
Prosecutors and Regulators conclude that “If there is one maintenance lapse, there must be others.”
Prosecutors schedule an emergency hearing in Court and Regulators before the FAA, each proposing to revoke Airline’s Flight Certificate, grounding said Airline and placing, oh, 10,000 workers out of a job. The grounding would occur for such period of time as is necessary for inspectors to review the Airline’s entire maintenance record since 1994, back to the statutory limit.
Suggest to Airline, “Well, yea, we might lose. But just so you know, news of the emergency hearings just might appear in the Washington Post next Tuesday. And it just might include a few choice words about your safety record from the Secretary of Transportation. But we’re not sure,”
Choose a crime and propose a penalty. They’ll cave.
Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine