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Sentencing changes sought for business crimes

First Published      Last Updated Aug 13 2014 02:10 pm

Washington • The federal panel that sets sentencing policy eased penalties this year for potentially tens of thousands of drug prisoners. Now defense lawyers hope white-collar criminals could be next in line to benefit.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission will vote Thursday on priorities for the coming year.

Lawyers who have long pushed for changes to the economic crime guidelines say a window to act opened once the commission cleared a major priority from its agenda by cutting sentencing guideline ranges for nonviolent drug dealers. The commission has already expressed interest in examining punishments for white-collar crime. The Justice Department, though not advocating wholesale changes, has said it welcomes a review.

It's unclear what action the commission will take, especially given the public outrage at fraudsters and cheats.