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H-P's Dunn Enters No Plea, Charges Dismissed

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the buying-your-way-out-of-trouble dept.

The Courts 156

GogglesPisano writes "CNN earlier reported that former HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent wire communications stemming from her involvement in last year's corporate eavesdropping scandal. The story was later amended after charges again st Dunn were dropped. The original charges, four felony counts, were reduced to misdemeanors in exchange for a plea bargain. Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness." Update: 03/15 02:21 GMT by KD : The prosecutor in the case issued a correction to the eariler pronouncement that Dunn would plead guilty to a misdemeanor. "At court today, Patricia Dunn did not enter any plea in response to the misdemeanor count, and the court exercised its discretion by dismissing the case against her," the revised statement said.

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Phone Cleaning (2, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354179)

Rubbish! Dunn should still be expected do some light community services despite the illness.

Phone cleaning lady springs to mind, it's lightwork.

Re:Phone Cleaning (4, Interesting)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354495)

What a bunch of crap. She's well enough to run a major corporation, but too sick to go to jail?

It goes to show you that if you're rich, you won't go to jail no matter what.

The Injustice of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355547)

Justice Hugo Black [injusticeline.com] once said, "And they who have suffered most from secret and dictatorial proceedings have almost always been the poor, the ignorant, the numerically weak, the friendless, and the powerless." Patricia Dunn does not fit into any of those categories of the downtrodden. Rather, she oppresses the downtrodden.

Wrong (2, Informative)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354183)

According to TFA the court dismissed the charges against Dunn - do the submitters not read the TFA either ?

Re:Wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354255)

The prosecutor's office press release was wrong, the AP reported on that and everyone ran with it. The AP story has now been corrected, so in this case, the submitter should be given some leeway.

Just plain wrong (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354345)

Leeway for the submitter? Okay. But whoever approved it to go on the front page needs to make a correction as quickly as possible. The headline and summary are just plain wrong. Seriously. 180 degrees.

I didn't see it posted as a "mysterious future" article or I would have e-mailed the editor to say, "Hey, this is extremely incorrect, and you need to not post it..."

Here's why (2, Informative)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354335)

http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/14/technology/hpq/ind ex.htm?cnn=yes [cnn.com]

"Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges."

Re:Here's why (2, Insightful)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354409)

Kind of ironic when you put out a false press release in a case when you're dealing with fraud isn't it ?

Source of the confusion - California AG office (2, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354545)

Link [canada.com]

The California Attorney General's office issued a statement saying that its news release "mistakenly predicted that the HP defendants would enter 'guilty' pleas to a misdemeanour count of fraudulent wire communications."

Strange that they would make a prediction. Perhaps that is a coverup as to what really happened.

CNN revisionists in action? (4, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354463)

Well, if CNN revised their article after learning that the AG office's press release was incorrect, they should have posted the revised story as a new story and put a link to the revised story in place of the first one with a note saying that it's been revised. News stories should not be treated like it were the news company's Wiki.

It's somewhat bad policy not to leave some trail of the revision history. Why do journalists feel they can be so sloppy about their work? Do the editors not take their jobs seriously anymore?

Re:Wrong (5, Informative)

GogglesPisano (199483) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354493)

Yes, I did read the article.

In the roughly three hours that elapsed between the time that I submitted the story and the time that it appeared on the Slashdot front page, there were apparently further developments in the story and the article on CNN was changed.

I refer you to the (modified) CNN article:

Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges.

Re:Wrong (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355939)

How did I get moderated Troll for this one ?

Sickness (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354191)

From Wikipedia:
"Dunn has survived breast cancer and melanoma, and was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in January 2004. Chemotherapy treatment led to remission until August 2006, when she underwent surgery to remove liver metastases. Dunn was scheduled to start chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer on 6 October 2006 at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center."

Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354403)

Karma is a bitch.

Re:Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355697)

She may have been deceitful and greedy, but your suggestion that she deserves ovarian and breast cancer is shameful and repellent.

Re:Sickness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355177)

at least the great magnet is taking up the slack our justice system let out.

Re:Sickness (2, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355773)

So she spent the best years of her life climbing over other people to get to the top, and now that she's there her body is completely trashed. Hmmmmm, I think I'll stick with my $65k a year and lots of free time to exercise and eat well.

Re:Sickness (2, Funny)

Ghworg (177484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356133)

That's what excessive use of the Dark Side will do to you.

Re:Sickness (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356369)

Hmmmmm, I think I'll stick with my $65k a year and lots of free time to exercise and eat well.
Eat right, stay fit, and die anyway.

Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (0, Redundant)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354201)

Can you not read? All charges against Dunn were dismissed.

Personally, I thought Patty Dunn deserved jail, along with Hurd (who by most accounts, including his own, was aware of the pretexting). A regular joe charged with a similar felony wouldn't get a walk just because of health problems; neither should Dunn. I hope Tom Perkins takes her to the cleaners in civil court.

-Isaac

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354327)

Why would Tom Perkins takes her to the cleaners? Let her clean her own stuff.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354351)

A regular joe charged with a similar felony wouldn't get a walk just because of health problems; neither should Dunn.

A regular joe charged with a similar felony probably wouldn't get a chance to plea bargain down to misdemeanor, either. If they did, they'd still get more than a few hours of community service.

Welcome to the real world, though; if you have money, you can walk. It's the capitalistic way!

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354631)

It's not the capitalist way.

There is nothing uniquely capitalist about using political power and connections to be treated differently by the justice system. It happens all over the world. It's always happened here in the US too.

In some cases, actually offering money (aka capitalism) will get you in more trouble while hinting that you can get them a job, an invite to the party, get their relative a nice fat government contract, is safer and more effective. It's so popular even communists and fascists do it.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355053)

True, but that is not the way it should be. Justice should be blind to money and power as it is to all else except the facts relevant to the case at hand. Arguably, any system where it isn't blind to money and power is a long way from perfect.

This blatant and unapologetic nature of this decision, and others of a similar outcome, point to the particularly greedy and corrosive nature of our system of capitalism. We value money so much that we do not even attempt to disguise the fact that it can buy you out of anything. The rules are different for the rich in America, and we don't care who knows it.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (4, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355095)

the particularly greedy and corrosive nature of our system of capitalism
Our system of capitalism isn't really capitalism. It's a pyramid scheme of debt. Those in priveleged parts of the pyramid are allowed to create debt for others (see HP's stock price), retain profit for themselves (how much were these jokers being paid?), while being shielded from any real-world repercussions (96 hours of suspended community service for four felonies isn't a bad deal at all).

Once in a while, for PR purposes, someone has to take a real fall (eg. Lay, Martha). Usually they get pampered once they're out of the spotlight.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354385)

Yes, that is what the article says.

It goes on to say that the charges were dropped
due to her illness, not because she was innocent,
and that the arrest will remain on her record.

I agree with you on the unfairness.

Hurd and Dunn? Sounds like a comedy routine (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354455)

"I heard-"
"No, I'm Hurd!"
"Hilarious, are you done?"
"No, I'm Dunn, he's Hurd!"
"Okay, what has he heard?"

At this point, I'm willing to bet everyone reading this is glad that none of the participants in this farce is named Watt...

Re:Hurd and Dunn? Sounds like a comedy routine (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354479)

I heard that Hurd will never do to Dunn what done did to his hearing. *sigh* Will Hurd ever be done?

Re:Hurd and Dunn? Sounds like a comedy routine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355667)

Entertaining; as this could have also been the conversation at Nortel, the only company who was outted for fraud during the tech crash and still stands. Dunn was the interim CEO, and Hurd is a floor sleeper who worked his way up to the director of IS "Security" team as of today.

Re:Hurd and Dunn? Sounds like a comedy routine (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356189)

I'm willing to bet everyone reading this is glad that none of the participants in this farce is named Watt...

That's not what I dun heard!

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

ApharmdB (572578) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354525)

Very true. A regular joe will get prosecuted for using marijuana even if her doctor says it is the only thing keeping her alive. So not only is she getting prosecuted while having health problems, the prosecution will make her health problems kill her.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/03/14/med.marijuana.ap /index.html [cnn.com]

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1, Offtopic)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354633)

Medical marijuana is a pain killer, not a cure for anything. So there is never going to be a situation where marijuana is the only thing keeping someone alive. Bad comparison.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (2)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354797)

Read the parents link. Her doctor testified that marijuana is the only drug that allows her to eat. He has tried all other treatments, with no response.

Eating is a biological necessity. Marijuana IS keeping her (and many other similar patients) alive.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355139)

I have had someone I cared about die because she could not eat, and was not going to use an illegal drug to help with her pain and loss of appetite. (Even though one of her doctors suggested it.) Would she have lived if she could have finished her cancer treatments? Maybe, but not being to eat because of her other medicines did kill her.

I really just don't see the whole point - I don't wish to take any recreational drugs, but I can not see any problems with any illegal drugs that was not also true of bathtub gin and the alcohol runners and sellers during the US prohibition.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

ApharmdB (572578) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355263)

You obviously didn't read the article. The doctor has her take it in order to give her an appetite. Without it she doesn't eat. If you don't eat, you die. So the marijuana is keeping her alive, albeit indirectly.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355517)

There isn't a lot of point in putting dying people in jail no matter what they have done. The purpose of imprisonment is to protect society from people that may harm it when there is no other option, not to get some smug feeling of revenge well served. There are better uses of taxpayers money than expensive imprisonment for petty revenge - so even utter bastards of corporate criminals are better neutered by preventing them from practicing anything that will allow them to reoffend and discouraging them with fines. As for the dying, they are unlikely to ever reoffend and may not even survive to the end of expensive proceedings designed to put them in jail for a very brief period of cruel and expensive time in prison hospitals.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355573)

purpose of imprisonment is to protect society from people that may harm it when there is no other option
Of the 283 executives named in the original filing against Enron, how are we, the common American investors, being protected from the 278 who never saw the inside of a courtroom? How are we, the common American consumers, being protected from the kinds of stock losses and business fraud that Hurd and Dunn could very well commit again?

There are better uses of taxpayers money
If only the power to use it were truly in our hands and not in the hands of people who owe political or financial allegiance to crooks like the ones in this story.

We, the common citizens, do not have any power of the purse--it's all taxed away to be allocated at someone else's discretion.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356109)

How are we, the common American consumers, being protected from the kinds of stock losses and business fraud that Hurd and Dunn could very well commit again?

Good point, in a lot of white collar crime cases in my country judges rule that those convicted cannot work as company directors, CEO's or various other restrictions for set periods of time - that is what protects society is you put them in a position where the cannot commit the original crime again for a long period of time. If they break these conditions I think it's contempt of court or definitely a breach of some kind that does result in jail time to keep them from re-offending.

Were any other restrictions were placed on those found guilty in the case of Enron or is it still ongoing, or even just dropped? If it was dropped it looks very much like a scapegoat was found and the others set loose once justice looked like it was done in the TV news soundbites.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356311)

Were any other restrictions were placed on those found guilty in the case of Enron or is it still ongoing, or even just dropped?
283 were named, 5 made it to the courtroom, Skilling and Lay were the only ones to see any formal judiciary penalty (afaik). The rest are still able to continue working the Wall Street/DC money pyramid to bilk the common investors/taxpayers for their own profit.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18356365)

You must be new to America.

Re:Can't you read? Charges were dropped! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355563)

What about pressing charges against Tom Perkins and Jay Keyworth for leaking private board room conversations? That is (or should be) a violation of federal securities law. Read the article in the New Yorker from a few weeks ago. They were a couple of cowboy's in the board room that cared about their ego more than HP.

Rich people with illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354213)

Always funny how Rich People can always get the best treatments and be in their tip top shape EXCEPT when they need to do something as part of their punishment. Then all of a sudden they are too sick. What a crock of bullshit. But in other news "Rich folks evade justice...again".

Summary is wrong, once again. (4, Informative)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354245)

She didn't plead guilty, the charges were dropped. From TFA:


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A state judge in California Wednesday dropped the charges against ex-Hewlett-Packard chair Patricia Dunn, who was accused of wire fraud in the company's boardroom spying scandal.

Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges.

No Contest (0, Redundant)

adam613 (449819) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354247)

They didn't plead guilty; they plead no contest. It's much different. Good thing the submitters and editors RTFA.

Re:No Contest (1)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354305)

Still, I seriously doubt that you or I would receive only community service sentence.

Re:No Contest (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354381)

I'm wondering if they didn't change the article out from under us. This was submitted to digg the same way, pointing to the same article. This is backed up by the fact that the AG originally put out an incorrect press release. I hate it when they change things that without linking to the history or even putting "UPDATED" or "CORRECTED".

You have to be kidding. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354273)

Plea bargain down to misdemeanours, sentence waived due to illness.
Gee I bet she's quaking in her boots.
I wonder if the judge is now an HP shareholder.
I bet she'll even pick up a pay-rise this year from HP.

Re:You have to be kidding. (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354325)

So these people are allowed a free pass for insider trading, wire fraud, and probably bilking millions of dollars out of shareholders... ...and I'm looking at a $380 fine and a court ordered ban from a park for being there after 10 PM one night.

Are they going to be banned from the boardroom?

Re:You have to be kidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18355399)

Wait, what? a ban for being in a park at night? God forbid you might want to, you know, hang out with a girlfriend in a quiet area - or stargaze (though depending on the city that might be difficult) - or just hang out with friends in general (I once had a "fight" with Amtgard gear in a park at midnight)

Re:You have to be kidding. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355617)

It sounds like a judge or prosecutor decided there is unlikely to be enough time before she dies to continue with the case or punishment. It happens all over the world with a lot of cases.

Not a chance (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355677)

It's not really possible for me to feel sorry for a multimillionaire. I really don't care what the ailment is. If they're a multimillionaire they should've known better than to become caught up in illegal activities. If they're dumb enough to be caught, when they had the financial ability to step out and say "I can't agree to this", then they deserve every last hour of punishment we can give them. It's not like she would've become homeless for staying out of the mess to begin with.

Re:Not a chance (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356013)

It's not about revenge, it's about protecting society. No legal punishment can trump a slow lingering death by cancer so revenge is irrelevant anyway.

Re:Not a chance (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356273)

It's not about revenge, it's about protecting society
I'm still waiting to be financially protected from the 278 Enron executives who never saw the inside of a courtroom--and who still know how to use priveleged positions to milk profit from 401(k) and other pension plans and leave the rest of us in debt. How are we being protected from executives like Hurd and Dunn from continuing to abuse their position within major corporations?

Must be nice to be rich (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354283)

I'd get a stiffer penalty for jaywalking

These assholes get away clean, with no criminal records and not a day in jail. Wanna bet what would happen to you or I if we got caught doing the same thing?

I've got immunity too!! (1)

LandruBek (792512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355495)

Speak for yourself -- I wouldn't get touched either, I'm stinking rich!! . . . you insensitive clod!

(heh, jk, no im not)

What crime?!?! (1)

SultanJ (642140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354303)

Gee, I always wondered if white collar crime was ok, but now I have my answer. What a sad state this country is in. If you have any combination of money and/or power, magically you're not a criminal anymore. This doesn't sound familiar does it?

Re:What crime?!?! (2, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354435)

It's not just that it was white collar, it's that the people doing it were rich and powerful.

The trouble with saying that it's "white collar" is that it doesn't recognize the real reason she got a pass. She's rich and has powerful friends.

Re:What crime?!?! (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354503)

She's rich and has powerful friends
Lately the administration has been firing federal prosecutors who go after people who are rich and have powerful friends.

Re:What crime?!?! (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354619)

She didn't "gack a nigga fo his nikes", she listened in on some phone conversations. She was prosecuted and convicted. Judges suspend sentences all the time.

So, that's the end of that. She was punished, severely. Look at HP's stock price, and realize she'll be unemployed by the end of the year.

Why do you think someone would get jail time for snoopin' around?

Re:What crime?!?! (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354767)

Why do you think someone would get jail time for snoopin' around?
The snooping was conducted in the course of defrauding investors. There may have been people who lost their homes because of it.

realize she'll be unemployed by the end of the year
Every geek's dream is to be unemployed and independently wealthy. Plenty of time to test all of those fledgling OSs that we never had time for. Plenty of time to sync the entire music collection and stream it, independently or together, to any/all speakers in the house. Plenty of time to sync the DVD collection and stream it, independently or together, to any/all screens in the house. Plenty of time to try setting up the home security system with webcams and motion detection. Plenty of time to turn IE bugs into full-fledged root-level trojans with Linux clients.

Don't ask me to feel sorry for an unemployed multi-millionaire.

Re:What crime?!?! (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355127)

She didn't "gack a nigga fo his nikes", she listened in on some phone conversations. She was prosecuted and convicted. Judges suspend sentences all the time.

TFA changed, so I'll let you off with the inaccuracy. The charges were dropped, she wasn't punished at all. The charges were dropped because she has cancer. She had cancer for five years before she decided to break the law in this case.

Every story has a moral. The moral of this story: get rich and get cancer; then you can do whatever the fuck you like.

Re:What crime?!?! (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355895)

She has cancer, not some made up disease to keep her from being punished.

The crime she committed hurt no one. It was wrong, but no one was hurt.

Compare and Contrast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354307)

Contrast:
September 2001, "You have no privacy - get over it", Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle.

With:
August 2006, AOL sacks, Maureen Govern and Abdur Chowdhury after they release AOL search results that have been 'cleaned' of personal information.
2007 March Patricia Dunn faces possible prosecution.

Seem Ellison is wrong, not only do we have privacy, if you remove our privacy, you end up in jail.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354313)

Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness.
A quick show of hands: who believes in the fairness of the legal system in the United States?

You're probably the same ones who believe that voting can change anything.

As the G-Man once said: "Oh, ye suckers!"

ah (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354329)

Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness.
 
Ah, the system works....oh wait no it doesnt.

Re:ah (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355647)

Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service

I did more of that for a scout badge! And yes, it was phrased exactly that way and working with the same organisations, which is why I found it amusing at the time.

I see having a penis really helps (0, Flamebait)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354371)

First Martha, now her.

The Enron guy got to fake his death and walk away with gazillions.

Chics just can't catch a break.

Fakes (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355723)

> The Enron guy got to fake his death and walk away with gazillions.

Ok, Ok, You made your point. Where should I send the money?

Our laws... (1)

Awod (956596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354383)

Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness."
Meh my internet connection has been sucking as of late; I think i'll go murder the rep's at my local Verizon while I still have the flu.

Re:Our laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354481)

Sigh... if only that was a valid defense....

this should set an example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354399)

96 hours of community service should discourage all future crimes of this nature.

Re:this should set an example... (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354585)

Is that hundred million dollars really worth it?

96 hours, thats a stratjakt-sized work week!

Or 96 Patricia Dunn work weeks.

Well well... (4, Insightful)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354443)

The fact that your regular folk would have been F'd in the A for something like this while the corporate suits get off pretty lightly, is yet another reason why it's called the legal system as opposed to the justice system.

Go Ahead Do Nothing (3, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355351)

Whining about how the rich and powerful have it easy in the /. echo chamber is the easiest thing to do. It makes you and the moderators feel better too.

Meanwhile, it's our economy (that means your economic prosperity in comparison to others in the world) that is ultimately harmed when investors all over the globe invest their funds in more transparent markets.

Here in California we voted _lots_ of harsh penalties for violent and drug-related crimes. Who says we can't do the same for white collar crimes?

Oh wait. That means you and I would have to _do_ something about it. Nevermind.

Great Artcle tagline (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354457)

The current bottom of the page tagline is rather amusing...

  "Some men rob you with a six-gun -- others with a fountain pen. -- Woodie Guthrie"

ambiguous responsibility (5, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354519)

I read an interesting article in the New Yorker about this whole fiasco. The underlying theme was that lots of people were responsible for the disaster, but none of them actually realized what was going on. Dunn and Hurd, in particular, repeatedly asked both legal counsel and the people doing the problematic projects whether it was legal. I believe TNY cited evidence of five separate written requests for assessment of legality from Dunn alone, and every one of them came back with repeated assurances that everything was legal, these were routine operations, and there was no problem.
The other point of the article was that Dunn and Hurd both had access to the same material, both helped decide what needed to be done, and directed what was going on, but at the end of the day, Dunn lost her job and was charged with multiple felonies, while Hurd is now running the company.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (3, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354639)

of people were responsible for the disaster, but none of them actually realized what was going on
They should be guilty of perjury as well. There's a difference between "I don't remember what happened" and "I don't know what happened." They darn sure as heck knew what was going on.

every one of them came back with repeated assurances that everything was legal, these were routine operations, and there was no problem
There's something wrong if people in Dunn and Hurd's positions aren't able to identify a yes-man or an outright liar. How much were they being paid? The more likely explanation is that they asked only for the purpose of creating an auditable paper trail to try and cover their behinds if the scam was every exposed.

Dunn lost her job and was charged with multiple felonies, while Hurd is now running the company
Every scam creates a scapegoat when busted.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354833)

>There's a difference between "I don't remember what happened" and "I don't know what happened." They darn sure as heck knew what was going on.

Obviously I don't *know* what was actually happening, but the writer's claim was that, yes, they knew exactly what was going on, were sufficiently worried about its legality to spend time researching it, and in the end, were repeatedly reassured by people who were more expert than they, that it was legal.

>There's something wrong if people in Dunn and Hurd's positions aren't able to identify a yes-man or an outright liar. How much were they being paid? The more likely explanation is that they asked only for the purpose of creating an auditable paper trail to try and cover their behinds if the scam was every exposed.

That's a real possibility, and I can't tell one way or the other.
But, in essence, a manager *must* rely on the manager's employees. A manager who goes and verifies every little decision, does all the research on everything being done... doesn't need employees because that manager's just done all the work. The employee is the expert on the job in question, and the manager is the expert in how that job fits into the grand scheme of the corporation. When a manager doubts a particular employee's answer, and goes and asks another employee, who is likewise more of an expert in the field than the manager, and gets the same answer, then what? If my manager refused to take both my and my coworker's assurances that what we were doing was the right thing, I'd consider my manager a micromanaging PHB.

To paraphrase King Henry V: every man's duty is to his king, but every man's soul is his own. The people who broke the law are responsible for breaking the law. A person who orders illegal actions, without knowing that those actions are illegal and having gone to some lengths to investigate whether they were actually illegal -- and having been told by corporate lawyers that the behavior is fine -- is much harder to find guilty.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354927)

reassured by people who were more expert than they
If I wouldn't believe it then why would I believe that someone making exponentially more than I would believe it? They were in positions where they were being paid not to be suckered by-fast talkers--and their defense is that they were suckered by fast-talkers?

A manager who goes and verifies every little decision
This isn't about micromanaging. These were executive level decisions.

having gone to some lengths to investigate whether they were actually illegal
It's my opinion that they went to lengths to make it look like they went to lengths because they already knew that what they were doing was illegal.

It'd be naive to think that they did something illegal without planning their defense in the event they were caught. 96 hourse of suspended community service for four felonies sounds like a pretty successful contingency plan.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355383)

>This isn't about micromanaging. These were executive level decisions.

But it *is*. Managing: "make this happen." Micromanaging: "do it this way."

You'd have to be dumb to not consider that things might go awry, and have a contingency plan in case they DO go wrong. They're not dumb. I'm sure they had a backup plan, and it's very possible what we're seeing is exactly that. But at some point, second-guessing becomes tautologic: if a person is guilty because there's clear evidence, but also guilty because evidence sufficient to exonerate the person is itself evidence that the person guiltily manufactured exonerating evidence -- then what evidence is sufficient to exonerate the person?

Don't get me wrong: I think they did ordered something illegal and there should be repercussions. But I think those repercussions should be shared among a lot more people.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355423)

You'd have to be dumb to not consider that things might go awry
They were dumb to expect that the wiretapping they were engaging in wasn't illegal. How much were they being paid to know better? (This reasoning applies to the recent federal government wiretap scandal as well)

what evidence is sufficient to exonerate the person
There is no exoneration for people in their position. They simply cannot make a plausible claim of innocence or naivete when their corporate position and yearly income require them to be shrewd and experienced.

I think those repercussions should be shared among a lot more people
Very true. This is further evidence of a scam. In the original filing against Enron there were 283 executives named of which only 5 ever saw the inside of a courtroom.

Their first mistake - (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355217)

- they asked their "Chief Ethics Officer" about the mess, wasn't that Hunsacker's title?, about the legality of it all.

You don't ask a lawyer to explain what is ethical. You ask lawyers what's LEGAL, not what's ETHICAL.

The Problem with Lawyers (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355745)

You can shop around until you find one to tell you what you want to hear.

They will cluck when you are caught, then offer to defend you.

Then offer to defend you on appeal.

Re:ambiguous responsibility (2, Insightful)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18356333)

As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse - except, apparently, if you're a rich, "upstanding" member of the community.

If they were worried enough about the legality of their operation to check with legal, then they damn well _knew_ that they were walking a dangerous line.

Tag it as "inaccurate" (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354551)

Everyone should tag it as inaccurate (or should that be "!accurate"). That's a tag I wish would catch on. Then they should auto-filter out all inaccurate and dupe articles from the default front page.

Re:Tag it as "inaccurate" (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355027)

The future called, they want the front page back.

Re:Tag it as "inaccurate" (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355299)

Well done, sir. Well done.

Plea bargains (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354587)

I'm I the only person who sees plea bargains as unjust?

If someone did a crime, he deserves an appropriate penalty. If he did no crime, he deserves no penalty.

Plea bargains say, we're kind of sure you did the time, but you can't afford the risk of a defense and/or the risk of being falsely convicted, and we'd rather not spend the money investigating / prosecuting to the point where we could convince a jury, so how about we split the difference?

The result: the guilty go free, and the innocent pay a price. Nice.

Re:Plea bargains (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354709)

What do you think is an appropriate punishment?

The fact that she was convicted at all is enough for me. HPs stock has taken it up the ass, and they won't keep her around.

She's getting her come-uppance, and I'm fine with that.

Re:Plea bargains (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354843)

HPs stock has taken it up the ass
All the more reason that Hurd and Dunn should be sitting in prison. Their actions have caused thousands of people to lose millions of dollars. How can anyone have pity for them? Don't executives have any responsibility?

Re:Plea bargains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354981)

Plea bargains have three uses. The first is that it allows the prosecutor to put people away who are guilty but would otherwise get off. This is a good use. The second use is to railroad people who are innocent but are scared of getting convicted for the full penalty. This is not a good use. The third is to get information you wouldn't otherwise get from a defendant for use in prosecuting someone else. This is a gray area.

The real problem with the current legal system is that prosecutors are more worried about their conviction rate.

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354645)

Who Dunn it?

sentance her to HP tech support (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354683)

Or send her to the NPO I work for. We can (gladly) make her work-off her sentance by making her sit in our NOC and fix all of our broken HP products, or at least get (some of) them to work. =p

Re:sentance her to HP tech support (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18355063)

You mean to have to use HP tech support?

Dont the Geneva conventions disallow that?
What about the cruel and unusual clauses?

Medical Marijuana is still illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354691)

...and people who are dying are still being prosecuted under the law for smoking or eating it but this chick gets her sentence reduced to nothing due to illness? What a pillock!

Re:Medical Marijuana is still illegal... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18354737)

Suspending a sentence isnt the same as reducing it.

On paper she was still sentenced to community service, and if she's before a judge again one day, that's what he'll see. That's what's on her record, that the crime she was convicted of was serious enough to warrant that penalty. That's what hurts. Spending a half day picking up cans, and then having your supervisor sign "96 hours" (thats how community service works in my experience) doesn't mean anything.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18354871)

A woman dying of a terminal illness will be prosecuted for smoking marijuana [cnn.com] .

God bless America? Yeah, it's going to fucking need it.

fuC4? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18356291)

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