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Martha Stewart – Targeted to Send a Message?

Today’s New York Times has this article (registration required) about possible reasons that Martha Stewart might have been prosecuted more vigorously than had she not been a celebrity. The article quotes a former prosecutor about something I’d heard before, namely that prosecutors especially like to go after high-profile people pour encourager les autres (see here for an explanation of this French phrase and its provenance):

Prosecuting someone famous can help to change behavior, though, and appeals to prosecutors seeking favorable media attention, said Roland Riopelle, a former federal prosecutor who practices at Secarz & Riopelle in New York.

“The government is in many cases quicker to pull the trigger on a public figure than a private citizen, and I think Martha Stewart was a victim of that,” Mr. Riopelle said. “The truth is, quite honestly, it’s all the more exciting and it creates all the more press.”

As a result, he concluded, “They’re more likely to charge a prominent person for a piddly crime than they are an ordinary Joe.”

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Julia 2004-10-02, 18:25

    Dear Martha,

    Good for you for getting this overwith as fast as possible. I hope the next five months will pass quickly and productively for you, and you will get back where you belong! You will certainly be thought of daily. Hopefully you will be able to “Make lemonade out of SOUR LEMONS!” I know you have the strength to do what is necessary and move on to better heights.

  • Marilyn Pulver 2004-10-08, 11:01

    Dear Martha, keep your chin up. We will miss you. Your friends will pray for you and see you soon.

  • C.A. Greene 2005-09-12, 18:31

    Welcome back Martha!
    You should never have been in prisopn in the first place, however you served with dignity as always.

    Charlie Greene the ex-Marine

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