This week, Felicity Huffman’s college admissions bribery saga ended in a 14-day prison sentence for the Desperate Housewives actor. If you need a refresher, Huffman was one of more than 50 people charged as part of a scheme for wealthy parents to pay bribes to get their children admitted into colleges around the country. While a lot has been made about Huffman’s seemingly “light” sentence, a recent Forbes article has a different take that provides some interesting context about how our criminal justice system works.
Encouraging cooperation with prosecutors
The article’s author, Walter Pavlo, notes that the entire operation to uncover the bribery scandal only came about as the result of an entirely separate criminal case against Morrie Tobin for manipulating offshore stocks for millions of dollars. In an effort to get a lighter sentence, Tobin offered information about a college admissions bribery scheme he knew about. The FBI got involved, and the rest is history.
Pavlo notes that Tobin—who has had his sentencing delayed as a result of his cooperation—is not the only person working with prosecutors. Rick Singer, the individual who orchestrated the bribery conspiracy, also appears to be cooperating. For both Singer and Tobin, this is likely to lead to a dramatically reduced sentence.
Criminal defense strategies
While Pavlo cites all of this as evidence of a “failing” criminal justice system, it is also undeniable that providing incentives for cooperation is an indispensable tactic to prosecutors and a frequent source of reprieve for defendants. Just as Felicity Huffman has the right to mount her best possible defense, so too do Morrie Tobin and Rick Singer. And when it comes to cooperation, it is often the first person who is willing to cooperate who gets the deal.
As criminal defense attorneys, our obligation is to provide the best defense and legal guidance possible for all of our clients. At the Law Offices of Brian A. Newman, we strive to develop strategies for every case to get charges reduced or dismissed. If you have been charged with a crime in Torrance or Los Angeles County, call (424) 275-4014 today to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.