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Significant appeal in Big Dig criminal case

Attorneys Peirce, Singal, and Powell win significant appeal in Big Dig criminal case

Federal prosecutors in this high-profile, Big Dig criminal case sought to incarcerate the two lead defendants for a substantial period of time after they were convicted of federal highway fraud and other charges after a sixteen-day trial. Donoghue Barrett & Singal, along with its co-counsel, successfully persuaded the trial judge to issue a no-jail sentence for its client, even though the discretionary United States Sentencing Guidelines recommended a range of 87 to 108 months, of incarceration.

On July 13, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld that significant result, observing how “rare it is to encounter a variance of this magnitude.” The First Circuit concluded that the variance downward from the United States Sentencing Guidelines was adequately explained by the sentencing judge, a key factor for appeals courts reviewing sentencing decisions. Among other important factors the Court analyzed, the First Circuit agreed with Donoghue Barrett & Singal that the $5.2 million dollar loss figure stemming from the crimes was not precise, and was not a fair measure of their client’s culpability. The First Circuit also placed substantial weight on the sentencing judge’s conclusion that there was no evidence that the Big Dig structures had been harmed in any way by the crimes for which they were convicted. And the First Circuit agreed that it was reasonable for the sentencing judge to have considered the client’s lack of a motive to profit, as well as his substantial good deeds throughout his life before these events. The ruling has been deemed significant by commentators who follow white collar criminal law.

The defendant was represented at trial by Attorneys Singal, Peirce, and Powell. Attorney Peirce briefed and argued the successful appeal before the First Circuit.

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