Barry Pollack discusses the sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, saying fourteen years is "an extraordinary amount of time in a public corruption case." He says he isn’t surprised by the sentence because it follows a current trend in both public corruption and economic fraud cases where "sentencing in each big case is greater than the one before it."
In the current climate of economic uncertainty, with public anger directed at corporate greed and corrupt governance, federal judges are under pressure to send messages "that the government is tough on economic crime and on public corruption," Pollack says. "Judges are citizens, too, and they care what their colleagues, friends, and neighbors are going to think," he says. In many ways, federal sentences are a product of the times, especially when compared to similar cases of the past when sentences for economic fraud "seemed like speeding tickets."