To be Convicted or Not to be Convicted

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In 2008, the United States (US) suffered a financial crisis which was blamed on Wall Street, who were not convicted of their crime. This economic meltdown affected not just the US citizens, but the rest of the world. Within the aftermath, only two individuals, Michael J. of McGrath of U.S Mortgage Corp. and Lee B. Farcas, of Taylor, Bean & Whitetaker Morgage Corp., were sentenced to jail. Why are there only two convicted, when there were many other individuals involved that lead to the financial crisis? Was it because the financial innovations were not foolproof or risk-free? Or was it because the suspected criminals were high-profiled financial people? These questions raises issues of the definition of a crime and the sense of responsibility and justice, through the analysis of the classical perspective and the social positive standpoint. According to Peter Just, justice for a crime is not based on revenge because law is a ritual and integral to the function of society (Tremblay 2013). This paper will analyze the US financial crisis as a white-collar crime and how Wall Street has evaded a vast amount of criminal conviction. Structurally, it is divided into two sections: the debate over white-collar crimes and the issue of justice for the 2008 US financial crisis.
To begin with, the debate over white-collar crime is about how these types of crimes are either considered to be criminal offences or not. Crimes are defined as social offences against the person, property, or are intrinsically evil. White-collar crimes are assessed as “non-violent property offences involving some element of fraud or deception.”1 In David Shichor’s article “On Criminological Indifference to The Global Economic Meltdown,” he found that there was a lack of knowledge on white-collar crimes which is an offence on its own (24). Shichor reasons that research studies influences policymaking which means that white-collar crimes have gained a free pass to commit crimes (24). Similarly, in Henry Pontell’s article “White-Collar Criminology and the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” there was a quote saying “laws are like spider webs that will catch flies, but not wasps and hornets” (3). This can be interpreted as those who are weak will get caught and punished, while those who are strong will go unpunished. It demonstrate the discrimination of the justice system and the inherent lack of research before the 2008 US financial crisis. Hence, if it were researched and implemented into criminology and legal policies, then there would be a possibility that Wall Street representatives would have been prosecuted for the crisis.
Still, many authors referred to Sutherland’s ‘the Differential Association theory’ because it was used to explain the process as how some individuals are criminals, while others are not based on their behaviours and its associations.2 For him, criminal behaviour was learned from the individual’s their experiences and perception of their behaviours and others. In...

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