(By Joe Koletar) An important, and often over-looked, element in cases like the one discussed in the previous two posts is the personality of the US Attorney (the lead prosecutor.) Many have political ambitions down the road (e.g. Rudy Guiliani in NYC.)
Judges also play a role, in two ways. Some just want to be presented with a proposed settlement to avoid a long, time-consuming trial. Then there is their personality (the lawyers dress this up and call it “a judge’s temperament”). They can be tougher on some violations than others.
Lastly, the whole thing is largely a joke. In 1996, when I was with Deloitte & Touche, I did a study of the National Fine Center. It was located in the Eastern District of VA. The idea was good – U.S. Attorney’s Offices do not want to mess with collecting fines. Their headlines come from convictions, not collecting fines, which is a ton of paperwork. When I studied the Fine Center in 1996 they were sitting on billions of dollars of uncollected Federal fines, which expire after a set number of years.
The Dept. of Justice finally got smart and hired retired Federal Agents to pursue these things.
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