Attorneys for Rajat Gupta compiled an amazing list of good deeds the former Goldman Sachs board director committed before he was convicted for securities fraud.
It played into the relatively light prison sentence Mr. Gupta received this week, with Mr. Gupta receiving only two years in federal prison while prosecutors had asked for more than 10.
U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff offered this theory as to why Mr. Gupta strayed from his otherwise noble path:
“After so many years of assuming the role of father to all, Gupta may have longed to escape the straightjacket of overwhelming responsibility, and had begun to loosen his self-restraint in ways that clouded his judgment.”
I have watched many criminal defendants present their good works at sentencing. It helps a judge decide whether they are dealing with a heartless psychopath or an ordinarly flawed human being who made a mistake. But after making that call, what difference does a list of good deeds make?
Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things.
We all have a dark side, and with a little discipline, we don’t have to give in to it.
Imagine handing out a lighter sentence to a murder defendant just because he volunteered at the homeless shelter. You do the crime. You get the time.
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