President Obama called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system Tuesday, saying that the United States needed to reevaluate an “aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth.”In local news, Michael Szafranski will be taking a plea. Paula McMahon broke the story:
The speech at the NAACP’s national convention, coming on the heels of a sweeping act of clemency Monday and ahead of his visit Thursday to a federal prison in Oklahoma, was the formal launch of one of the president’s last major legislative campaigns.
Sentencing reform represents one of the final domestic policies Obama hopes to broker on Capitol Hill before leaving office.
Telling the audience that “we can’t close our eyes anymore,” Obama noted that the nation’s prison population had more than quadrupled from 500,000 in 1980 to 2.2 million today.
“In far too many cases, the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime,” he said. “And by the way, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price.” He argued that the $80 billion the federal government spends each year on prisons — nearly a third of the Justice Department’s budget — could instead fund preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country.
A financial adviser accused of deceiving investors who lost millions in Scott Rothstein's $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme is expected to plead guilty to at least one criminal charge later this month, court records show.
Michael Szafranski, 37, of Surfside, is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing July 29 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
Details of any plea agreement with federal prosecutors would not be made public until after the hearing with U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas.
Rothstein testified in depositions that Szafranski knew about his fraud. Prosecutors said Szafranski did not know Rothstein was running a Ponzi scheme, but Szafranski knew he and Rothstein were breaking the law.
Szafranski was indicted in February on one count of wire fraud conspiracy and 11 counts of wire fraud. Each of the charges carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison and fines, though he would likely receive a much lesser sentence.
His lawyers previously said Szafranski, who is free on $250,000 bond, planned to go to trial.