• Sir Allen Stanford: a very brave man.


    Above, Allen Stanford in happier times. Yesterday, the former knight, Sir Allen Stanford was sentenced by a judge in Houston, Texas to 110 years in a US prison. Sir Allen, now Mr Stanford is aged 62. This means that given that with 50% remission for good behaviour, Mr Stanford will be eligible for “early release” in 55 years time when he will have reached the grand age of 117 years! In other words, this is a whole of life sentence. Allen Stanford will die in prison.

    What did Mr. Stanford do to deserve such a savage sentence?

    Is he a murderer?


    Is he a serial paedophile who has been convicted of a series of serious sexual assaults against young children?


    Is he a drug smuggler or armed robber?


    Is he one of the late and unlamented Osama Bin Laden’s “sleepers”?


    Mr Stanford is in fact a fraudster.

    U.S. District Judge David Hittner in Houston imposed the sentence yesterday, after stating that Allen Stanford was guilty of “one of the most egregious criminal frauds ever presented to a jury in federal court.” He also ordered Mr Stanford to forfeit US $5.9 billion. Jurors in March convicted the Stanford Financial Group principal of 13 charges, including five counts of mail fraud and four of wire fraud.

    “From beginning to end, he’s treated his victims like road kill,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Stellmach told the judge yesterday before a courtroom packed with some of those victims. “Allen Stanford doesn’t deserve anyone’s sympathy, and he doesn’t deserve your honour’s mercy.”

    Allen Stanford had no visible reaction to the sentence. Maintaining a fixed gaze at the judge, he didn’t look back at his mother, Sammie, or daughter Randi, who were among the 200 attendees.

    Mr. Stanford’s attorneys said the conviction and sentence will be appealed.

    “We’re very disappointed in the outcome,” said Ali Fazel, a Stanford lawyer. “It’s a harsh punishment, and it’s tough on him. He is upset because he feels like he didn’t do anything.”

    “I’ve been called a lot of things — arrogant, abrasive, a son of a gun, difficult, very opinionated and strong-willed. But I am not a thief,” Mr. Stanford, dressed in green prison garb, told the judge during a 30-minute address. “I never planned to, never did, either corporately or personally, defraud anyone and never set out to do that.”

    Stanford told the court, “I worked my butt off for 30 years to build this company,” adding later, “If we’d been allowed, we could have liquidated every single asset and paid off every single depositor liability and every single depositor and still had significant and substantial assets remaining.”

    Prosecutors asked for a 230-year term, the maximum under federal sentencing guidelines. His attorney requested a 10-year term for his client.

    “Thirty years and 110 years are effectively the same sentence,” Doug Burns, a former prosecutor, said in an interview yesterday. “The judge obviously felt a very high sentence was necessary.”

    “A triple-digit, eye-popping sentence might make for good headlines but it does not make any sense whatsoever in terms of sound sentencing policies,” Barry Pollack, a Washington-based criminal defence attorney, said in a phone interview yesterday. “It’s Monopoly money. It’s not a real number,” he said, adding that symbolic sentences can actually undermine the integrity of the sentencing process.

    “I would much rather see sentences that are crafted to fit the actual facts and circumstances of the individual case than to use sentencing as a mouthpiece to voice public anger,” he said.

    British Gazette comment: Mr Stanford’s sentence demonstrates the following:
    - the danger of pleading “Not Guilty” to a charge in a US courtroom. Had he have “copped a plea” his sentence would have been shorter – but it probably for him still have meant around 25 years in prison. Which for him in a US prison is effectively a whole of life sentence anyway as US prisons are harsh and dangerous places.
    - that the USA cannot consider itself a tolerant country with values similar with other mainstream First World Countries such as Canada to the north of it.
    - that danger of electing judges and prosecutors. Be in now doubt, if the UK had the same system as the USA – electing Crown Prosecutors and Crown Court judges this country would sentence similarly. And this country would have the crisis in prison numbers the USA has.

    British Gazette readers may disagree with the Editor’s comments and question why the Editor is in their view “soft on crime.” Well let me tell you why.

    I had an uncle. He died some time ago now. My uncle was a very brave man. He was a former RAF Officer during World War Two and was in Bomber Command – in Lancasters. He flew a considerable number of missions over Germany before being shot down. When captured he received harsh treatment at the hands of the Waffen SS. Amazingly however he managed to escape. He made it back to Blighty and in Liberators was sent out east to the Burma theatre. He was awarded the DFC. My uncle was a man of strong opinions and might even had commented that Mr Stanford got more or less what he deserved.

    However, the difference between my uncle and the Editor of this organ saying such is vast. You see, my uncle EARNED THE RIGHT to be tough on such as Mr Stanford. He repeatedly found the courage to strap himself into a Lancaster bomber and flew missions over Germany. He endured and eluded the Waffen SS.

    He once said: “If you are going to be tough of your men – by asking them to endure hardship and danger – you have to be two or three times as hard on yourself. You have to drive yourself harder and longer and demand more of yourself than any of the men under your command.”

    That is what being an officer in the forces of Her Majesty the Queen is all about – whatever the service.

    What irritates – intensely – the Editor is to read the gungho “he deserves all he gets” type of comment posted in the comments column of such as the Daily Mail. Of course these characters if faced with the challenges faced by the officers in our armed forces would whine, whimper and wet themselves.

    • Adulation? I think not. This is the first time I’ve come across this blog. Like others, this blogger seems to have issues they feel the need to expostulate on. Whilst this blog is different in many ways from the other’s I’ve surfed across, it does have one thing in common with many others – the blogger sets out either with a provocative headline – as in this case – or a provocative element in the post – as in the last sentence. By doing this IMHO the blogger damages the point he is trying to make – which is a fair one. That to give a man convicted of a non violent, non sexual crime to what in effect is a whole of life term is excessive. It is interesting to note that Stanford’s defence attorney asked for a sentence of 10 years. Had Stanford been convicted at the Old Bailey of the crime/s he committed that is probably what he would have received – with a recommendation by the trial judge that he serve at least half the term – 5 years – which would mean that he would not be released after 30 months on a tag. Another point, Stanford will serve his time in a minimum security prison which is somewhat between our Cat C and Cat D prisons but far more austere that either of them.

    • Jack,

      I find it truly offensive to witness the adulation which I have personally seen for that thief. Throw away the keys I say.

      I do not think that makes me any less or more of a coward!

    • I hate to mention this, but the American Constitution, is based on our, 35 times ratified, British Constitution and incorporates, The Magna Carta and The Bill of Rights.

      Under, Legem Terrea’, the Law of the Land, dishonesty in our dealings, is a crime specified in constitutional law. However, anyone accused of such a crime has the right to state his case before a randomly selected tribunal of their peers. Only the jury has the lawful authority to acquit, convict, or even nullify bad and unjust laws, for they are held to hold the views of , the country’.
      The unlawful selection of juries is a criminal attempt by both, defence and prosecution barristers, to neuter the independent and random selection process.
      The purpose of the jury is not to convict their fellow citizens of a crime, as is widely believed, but to protect them and us, from tyranny of Government, through unjust laws.

      It is for the, Jury, not a judge, acting in his own cause by passing sentences to seek public acclaim, to decide upon the penalty they believe those they convict should pay.

      Even as I write this our politicians and the wiggery, plot to remove our protection of the jury, using the ludricous claim of the high cost, of jury trials. It could be argued that, ‘as we will deny justice, nor buy or sell justice, to any man, barristers should be paid a flat fixed fee for criminal trials.

      We must restore our British Constitution,

      Magna Carta
      “…here is a law which is above the King and which even he must not break. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta; and this alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.”
      Winston Churchill

    • Steve,

      I think our esteemed Editor is probably in awe of his late uncle. I reckon that his uncle’s heroism must have had a tremendous effect on him as a child. I reckon that explains it. As to the Editor calling Stanford a brave man? Well stupid might have been a better descriptor – but then Stanford probably like most criminals: a gambler. They reckon they won’t get caught. Or in Stanford’s case, get off.

    • And why do you describe as a very brave man? And how do you know that he was not a drug smuggler?

    • Peter, surely you do not need to be a war hero to be a worthy Judge?

      The man was a thief;It sickens me to read time and time again that he was a “multi millionaire” ….no, he was a thief and he ruined many lives. ……..and yes, ” he deserves all that he gets!”

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