Bernie Ebbers received a twenty-five year prison sentence for his conviction on conspiracy and securities fraud charges related to the collapse of WorldCom in 2001. The Ebbers sentence came at a time of significant upheaval in the world of sentencing law. The Supreme Court reordered federal sentencing just a few months before the district court sentenced Ebbers, and the prison term largely follows the Federal Sentencing Guidelines even though, after United States v. Booker, they are no longer mandatory, but only advisory for federal judges. While the sentence was likely close to the one Ebbers would have received under a mandatory regime, his case provides a vehicle to consider where sentencing may go in the future for white collar crime cases. The Article considers whether the twenty five year term handed down by U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, which will require the 64-year old Ebbers to spend most, if not all, of the rest of his life in prison, was too harsh.
Henning, Peter J.. White Collar Crime Sentences After Booker: Was the Sentencing of Bernie Ebbers Too Harsh?. 37 McGeorge L. R. 757, 785 (2006)