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Former New Jersey lawyer sentenced to life

Penalties for white collar crime are often harsh today, and a former New Jersey prosecutor found that out recently. Federal courts, in particular, tend to treat organized activity with a very heavy hand, and they are guided in this effort by mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that provide very little leeway for the accused.

The former prosecutor was indicted in 2009 on a host of different criminal charges. He was accused of using his criminal defense practice in New Jersey to facilitate murder, traffic drugs, and generally operate a criminal syndicate. After being convicted of these charges, and others under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, he was sentenced to six terms of life in prison. 

With some of the constraints of federal criminal proceedings, many defendants of white collar crimes are caught in a web that offers very little mercy. Many of the charges against this man carried their own mandatory life sentences. With his associates willing to testify against him throughout the process, this particular lawyer was up against heavy odds.

Nonetheless, after his conviction, the man still maintains his innocence and he has said that he is planning to appeal. The man was once a very successful and prominent lawyer, and many were surprised at the accusations he has faced.

Whether one is charged in federal court or in New Jersey state court, criminal defendants have the right to a spirited defense. Even when the evidence seems like it is heavily weighted against a person, he or she does have legal options to consider. 

Source: Lawyer Herald, “Paul Bergrin: Former New Jersey Prosecutor and Defense Lawyer Turned Criminal Sentenced to Six Life Prison Terms,” Jared Feldschreiber, Sept. 23, 2013

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