Why Should Sholom Rubashkin Receive a Life Sentence?


aaron-rubashkin-and-shalom-mordechaiFrom the pages of the Wall Street Journal today: Worldcom fraudster Bernie Ebbers got a 25 year sentence. Enron’s Jeff Skilling got a little more than 24 years (though his sentence was later vacated). Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski got between just over 8 to 25 years.

So why is the government pushing a life sentence for Sholom Rubashkin, the former head of the kosher meat-processing plant that was raided in 2008 for immigration violations?

In November, Rubashkin was convicted of 86 counts of federal bank fraud in connection with loans to the company, Agriprocessors.

It was a big conviction, likely worthy of a big sentence. But life?

A group of former U.S. attorneys general – Janet Reno, William Barr, Richard Thornburgh, Edwin Meese III, Ramsey Clark and Nicholas Katzenbach – recently wrote a letter to the federal judge overseeing the case, Linda Reade, asking her not to impose a life sentence. In the letter, the former AGs called the government’s request “extreme,” and cautioned against the “potentially severe injustice” that could result. Click here for the NYT story; here for a recent opinion piece in the Des Moines Register by New York lawyer Harlan Protass arguing why a life sentence is too long.

In defense of their position, writes the NYT, prosecutors have alluded to Rubaskin’s “blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice.”

But a life sentence? “We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence – or anything close to it – for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender,” wrote the former AGs in their letter.

Protass notes that the federal sentencing guidelines can recommend some awfully high sentences when it comes to financial fraud. Writes Protass:

When it comes to large-scale fraud cases – like that in which Rubashkin was involved – the guidelines’ grounding in mathematics sometimes results in sentences disconnected from any common sentencing sense. Indeed, they fall within the realm of prison terms usually reserved for Mafia bosses, major international drug traffickers and terrorists.

Defense lawyers have asked Judge Reade to impose a six-year sentence, emphasizing that the sentence urged by prosecutors is longer than that received by Ebbers and Skilling.

{Wall Street Journal}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. There was only fraud here because the government caused the fraud. Sholom was paying his payments on time.
    It is time to take off the kid gloves and expose the garbage that took place here all instigated by the government and by our own president.

  2. #1- it was instigated by President Bush. Yes, this is a terrible story, the prosecution is overzealous and trying to impose an unjustly harsh sentence, but this is one thing you cannot, with any shred of intellectual honesty, pin on Obama. The whole saga began in May 2008, 6 months before Obama was elected, and about 2 months before he was the official Democratic candidate.

  3. what about rubashkin building the whole town, and the federal gov didn’t and pressed on until the whole thing collapsed.
    the entire justice system doesn’t make sense, compare it to the Canadian system, rubashkin would never go to prison in Canada rather he would have to pay a large fine.

  4. I was assuming #1 meant President Bush and not President Obama. Nobody could mean Obama — he not only didn’t do the raid, he actually stopped doing such raids. This is a move I actually questioned, but I understand his logic, and it was probably the right thing to do.

    We have to give #1 some credit. Blaming this on Obama would have been ridiculous and stupid.

    To #1: there’s no way to take off the “kid gloves” with President Bush at this point. Yes, we can agree that there was a lot of dangerous folly with his administration. But let’s move on and try to at least support the current president’s position on Immigration raids.

  5. to #2 and #4 actually when obama was campaigning in Iowa and the matter was brought to his attention he made a statement that he supports the investigation and arrest of Sholom Rubashkin..or something to that tune, he strongly supported the prosecution and came out against Rubashkin!!
    Now in Arizona he is defending the illegals..so go figure..

  6. That is REALLY reaching. Come on, let’s blame the president for the next time we stub our toes.

    Where’s the part where people condemn the Bush administration for their investigation and raid?

    I haven’t read one on Orthodox sites. Just fools mentioning this thing were Obama said something in Iowa in 2008.

    So transparent! A lot of good you’ll do Rubashkin with this kind of nonsense.