Agudath Israel Reacts to Rubashkin Sentencing
Reacting to U. S. District Court Judge Linda Reade’s sentencing of former Agriprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin to 27 years in prison and five years probation, Agudath Israel of America executive vice president Chaim Dovid Zwiebel issued the following statement:
This is a dark day.
It is a dark day for American justice. Judge Reade has ignored not only the expert opinion of six former United States Attorneys General and numerous other high-ranking former Justice Department officials that Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence should be significantly less than that recommended by the U.S. Attorney; she has imposed a sentence even more draconian than what the U.S. Attorney sought. There is something very wrong with this picture.
It is a dark day, as well, for American Jewry. While none of us condones any wrongdoing by Mr. Rubashkin, the extraordinary severity of the sentence imposed upon one of our Jewish brothers sends chills of shock and apprehension down our collective spine. This is a horrifying development.
I am not sure that the severity of the sentencing is incommensurate with other sentences for bank fraud.
What is out of line is that in US penology, bank fraud very often gets worse sentences than murder.
The massive raid that, so far, has resulted in no convictions related to child labor or illegal alien labor, did create enormous financial pressure on Agriprocessors. That fact should mitigate the sentence but seems to have been overlooked.
Everyone agrees that Federal Sentencing guidelines are totally out of alignment. Wire fraud, bank fraud, etc. falls under Federal jurisdiction in most cases. Murder is generally a State prosecuted crime. That is why comparing murder to bank fraud is like comparing apples to oranges. Federal sentencing for murder are generally terrorism related and those criminals get the book thrown at them as well. Dealing with the Federal prosecutors is not fun or glorious.
I hope the appeal succeeds in a more reasonable sentence. None of this would have happened had the PETA people and their allies in the Magen Tzedeck not singled out one slaughterhouse for this scrutiny. I wonder if other slaugher houses were raided or just the kosher one. Whatever the legality, no one disputes that Mr Rubashkin is a decent person who did not steal per se, he just got into hot water over his head and made ad hoc decisions to save his business.He made poor choices and he will pay the price, but he is a good human being. In this country no one thinks we can change the sentence by rallies and protests. The most one can do is contriubte to a legal defense fund.No one claims the judge is dishonest, just that the Federal guidelines allow this sentance and it was too harsh. In this country, we do not dispute the authority of the court, just are upset it ruled the way it did. Is Israel more “heimish”, is that why rallies and marches and name calling are supposed to change the wheels of justice? Is Israel just a big shtiebel?