The Case for Keeping Jeffrey Epstein Behind Bars

Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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24 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    You’d get more discussion if you made the case for bail.Report

    • Em Carpenter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      The charged conduct dates back over 15 years and predates his conviction in Florida. There is no allegation that he has committed a crime since then, nor does the government allege or have evidence that any of the women in the seized photographs are minors. In addition, he did not flee when facing charges in Florida; the rumors have been swirling for weeks that he may face further criminal action and yet he has not fled. Finally, he was never charged with the alleged intimidation of a witness.
      (Best I can do).Report

    • Ozzy! in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I agree. OP makes a decent try below. I guess all the questions we have for bail boil down to:are you rich?

      Is there any crime a person could be alleged with , while having $100mm in assets, where bail is possible? Alot of the the arguments originally noted could apply to anyone with a non-diminimous level of wealth.

      Is bail verboten after you reach $XX level of wealth and how do the courts deal with this?Report

      • Em Carpenter in reply to Ozzy! says:

        You can’t have hard and fast rules with bail- each case is supposed to be considered individually by analysis of those factors I outlined (with the exception of the automatic no bail provisions for capital crimes.)
        I think seriousness of the charges/possible sentencing would be a salient factor because lesser crimes would provide lesser incentive to flee.
        The DOJ memo also mentioned that Epstein has no known family members, further weakening his ties to NY.
        And I think that it would be much harder to make a no bail case for, say, embezzlement, which is not a violent or quasi-violent crime. (Anyone recall whether Madoff got bail?)Report

        • Ozzy! in reply to Em Carpenter says:

          Thanks Em. I get the underlying proposition of bail, and more extrapolating out from this case.

          What I am asking is that if someone has $100mm of assets, is there any bail amount that could fit the criteria? If you have a charge that doesn’t require the hearing, setting of bail, IANOL, etc. sure, it doesn’t matter. But if you do, for the most basic charge, does the questions involved accurately reflect what we want bail to accomplish? Or if you have that level of wealth, you automatically are jailed if accused/indicted/whatever?

          In this case I’m fine with holding, but the questions/issues for bail seem to really just ask: is the accused wealthy? if yes, no bail. The logic of it strikes me oddly.Report

          • Em Carpenter in reply to Ozzy! says:

            I understand what you’re saying. I don’t think wealth is the only factor though. It’s possible a person could be every bit as rich as Epstein and still not be considered a flight risk. (Conversely, of course, people with little to no means are often jailed with no- or prohibitively high- bail.)
            In Epstein’s case I would say no. No amount of bail would secure his appearance because I do believe he would flee. Someone else might have all that money, but no house out of the country, not known to take private jets, lots of family in the area, etc.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Huh. Kinda expected him to have committed suicide but shooting himself in the back of the head twice by now.

    Maybe tonight.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    This case is bad, bad, bad. On LGM, we are discussing it from a feminist prospective. But you know somewhere on the Internet, a bunch of people will use this story to justify every single anti-Semitic belief they have because Epstein is Jewish, wealthy from finance, and knew lots of other powerful people.

    The case is a Rosarch test of partisanship. At the very least, there are lots of powerful people who had reason to suspect Epstein and looked the other way. At worse, this is going to implicate lots of powerful people in much worse ways.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    The only political commentator on twitter worth trusting has a good insight:


  5. “Further, home confinement ‘would merely reduce his head start, should he decide to flee,’ which he could do in secret upon one of the two private jets he uses.”

    I’m very sympathetic to denying bail, but the feds’ reasoning on this particular point seems a little off. Couldn’t they just impound the jets?

    ETA: Italics/emphasis added by me.Report

    • Em Carpenter in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      I’m not sure at this point they have the legal right to do so.
      Besides, with his means, I doubt those two jets are the only options he has.Report

      • I didn’t realize their authority to impound the jets was in question. That certainly changes things. And I do realize he has other options than those two jets.

        Thanks for clarrfyng, though.Report

        • Em Carpenter in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

          Yeah, I don’t think they can just impound them. They could attempt a civil forfeiture, and I can’t imagine they won’t since at least one of them was used in the alleged crimes (“Lolita Express”).Report

    • What would be the consequences to the pilot in such an event? Any criminal charges? Loss of license? If the court were to confiscate Epstein’s passport, would the pilot be in any trouble for flying him to a foreign country?Report

      • Em Carpenter in reply to Michael Cain says:

        If the pilot knew that’s what he was doing, maybe so? I don’t really know. And I’m not sure- if you fly on your private jet I assume you still have to show a passport to someone, but I wouldn’t know- I’ve sadly never left the country on a private jet.
        Or any jet
        And I’ve never had a passport.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Em Carpenter says:

          IIRC, there is no need to show a passport to exit a country, only to enter. Commercial airlines request to see your passport so that they aren’t dealing with a passenger who is unlikely to be denied entry and become a problem they have to deal with.Report

        • I’ve left the country on a private jet once, but it was only as far as Canada and years ago. No one even looked in the airplane in either country. They just took the pilot and copilot’s word on citizenship, duties, etc.Report

  6. George Turner says:

    I saw a cute meme quoting Epstein’s lawyer arguing that Epstein wasn’t a flight risk, overlaid over a cartoon of a rocket blasting off from Skull Island.Report