Don’t understand Judge’s ruling in Madoff case.

I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV. However, I thought in this country one was innocent until proven guilty. Isn’t that basic stuff?

Doesn’t that mean the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty? At least, that’s what I get from watching Law & Order.

RAKOFF: Don't understand his ruling.

I don’t get Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s reasoning the burden of proof falls on Fred Wilpon to prove his innocense. None of this makes sense. It doesn’t seem logical. And, Rakoff does not offer a legal precedence in explaining his decision.

First off all, the perpetrator in all this is Bernie Madoff, who is already serving time for his part in the Ponzi scandal. Yes, the Wilpons invested with Madoff and made money. But, didn’t they also lose money? Didn’t they have money in accounts with Madoff when this came to light? Doesn’t it make sense they would have pulled all their funds before the roof collapsed?

Since the Wilpons didn’t work actively with Madoff, I don’t understand why they should be held responsible for the losses of others. Why aren’t other investors the target of Irving Picard? On the surface that doesn’t seem right. It seems Picard is going after an easy, and public, target.

There’s no proof the Wilpons actively fleeced investors. If there was it seems that’s something the prosecution should prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Madoff did was despicable, but I haven’t heard where the Mets were taking investors’ checks on his behalf.

5 thoughts on “Don’t understand Judge’s ruling in Madoff case.

  1. My understanding is the rule referenced above is for criminal cases. This is not a criminal but a civil case. If I understand it correctly civil cases have a lower standard.

    The issue is that it is proposed that the Wilpons stole money from other people indirectly using Madoff’s fund as a conduit. If they are shown to be willfully ignorant of where their money comes from the prosecutor wants the money back.

    Now I agree I think it is odd that they have to prove that they did not willfully turn a blind eye. I would think the prosecution has to prove that a reasonable person would conclude that they did know and kept taking from the till.

  2. John,

    First, thank you for this post. People seem all too willing to cast the Wilpon’s as partners in this mess, with no proof. While Picard has gone after other investors, he has not done so in the same way, or with as much publicity.

    As for proving the case beyond all reasonable doubt, that is the burden of the prosecution in a criminal trial. This however, is a civil trial, where the rules are different.

  3. dave (1): Like I said, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know the particulars. My post was my gut feeling on this case. … If the accusation is the Wilpons stole money, then prove it. Perhaps the standards or proof are lower in a civil case, but I believe the accuser should do the proving. Just my feelings.-JD

  4. Jd if the majority of the jury in a civil case agree then that is the ruling ..
    So if 8 or 9 say Wilpons are guilty , Wilpons lose.

  5. I caught the tail end of Johan’s game. He had no control but it was good to see him throw and hit 60 pitches.