Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernard Madoff gets 150 years in prison

Bernard Madoff was responsible for financial crimes in which he stole billions of dollars from people. He said he would help with their investments, but he did no such things. I do not know a lot of the details of the case. Theft is a serious crime, but is it as serious as murder? For the crimes he committed, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He is already 71 years old, so the chances of him living that long are pretty well non-existent. But is this an appropriate sentence? His lawyers argued that he had a remaining life expectancy of 13 more years. They requested a sentence of 12 years so he could get out and have about a year left. I think this would have been more appropriate. I am always critical of sentencing people for long periods of time for financial crimes. They are not a physical threat to people, just financial. I believe a more appropriate punishment would be to cap his earnings or to take away his ability to have anything to do with investments. I believe the punishment should fit the crime. Being locked away for 150 years with violent criminals does not seem appropriate no matter how much money he stole.

I seem to be a little outnumbered in my opinion that Madoff's sentence was too harsh. On a CNN poll, 57% of respondents felt he had received a fair sentence, 34% said no penalty is harsh enough and just 9% felt his sentence was too harsh.

I want to clarify that I think what Madoff did was terrible and worthy of punishment. I am simply wondering if this particular punishment was appropriate given the crime.

In any event, let us pray for Madoff and his victims, that they may find true reward with God and his eternal promises.

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