Clemency for Wall Street Criminals, Prison for the Powerless
by William Norman Grigg
“Who the hell are these people?”
“I don’t know. I used to say they were the same ones we’ve always had to deal with. Same ones my granddaddy had to deal with. Back then they was russlin’ cattle. Now they’re running dope. I ain’t sure we’ve seen these people before. Their kind. I don’t know what to do about ’em even. If you killed ’em all they’d have to build an annex on to hell.”
Sheriff Bell ponders the bloody handiwork of a high-echelon criminal syndicate in Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men.
Johnny Gaskins of Raleigh, North Carolina faces a 30-year prison term – an effective life sentence – for the supposed crime of depositing $450,000 in his own bank account. The corporate leaders of Wachovia Bank, a criminal syndicate once headquartered in the same state, won’t face prosecution despite admissions that they laundered hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Mexican narcotics cartels.
Wachovia was deemed “too big to fail,” and thus too important to prosecute. In our system, mercy is reserved exclusively for the powerful and corrupt, and Johnny Gaskins – a criminal defense attorney – was neither.