It's good that people are being held accountable, but I'm unsure that prison is an effective mechanism here (or for many other crimes, for that matter). I mean, what's the goal exactly? I'd say the risk of recidivism is about nil, so it's not about protecting society from him, or about rehabilitation. So the goal must be to discourage others from committing similar offenses. Fair enough, but there must be a better and more efficient way to accomplish that than locking people in a compound for several years. In this case, the financial penalties imposed on the companies themselves seem like a more effective tool.
I was really cynical once I saw that only a lower-level engineer had been charged and convicted of wrongdoing so far. Glad to see that someone higher-up is also being held responsible.
Having been transferred back to Germany, he came to the United States for a vacation with his wife and was seized as he waited for a departing flight in Miami.
That was an expensive vacation.
Seriously, good to see justice served. Curious to see what Germany does to the top execs there.
> He had a base salary of $130,000, received bonuses of at least $40,000, and had a net worth over $1 million
That's executive pay at VW?
Good. Too often, top executives seem to be above the law. They need to be held accountable.
But I can't help but get the impression that many countries only seem to punish foreign companies. I don't think Germany is punishing German executives, are they? Nor the US punishing American executives?
I'm thinking the only suitable punishment for something like this is to ban the company's products from sale for a long period of time. VW-corp isn't hurting from some executive or engineer being incarcerated.
> Mr. Schmidt did not identify any Volkswagen superiors who might have pressured him to lie to regulators.
So, a guy that takes the fall so that the superiors can get scratch free.
This can involve anything from some guarantees of financial security post-prison and favorable push for "early exit" from prison, to blackmail and threats for the person's family.
Nit: I don't like use of "official" for a non-governmental position. What public office does this person hold? Use "executive" instead.
> Having been transferred back to Germany, he came to the United States for a vacation with his wife and was seized as he waited for a departing flight in Miami. Why he risked arrest by traveling to the United States remains a mystery.
Because he presumed that he was untouchable?
Seems excessive to me. 7 years is more than many violent offenders get. Way more than necessary to make the point.
It's interesting that the executive received more jail time than the engineer (7 years vs 40 months).
Is there a chance for early release? This 7 year sentence could become 10 months.
It's worth bearing this statistic in mind as we discuss this:
38,000 people a year die early because of diesel emissions testing failures.
It sounds to me like a German name, is he from there? Then how is it possible that the US judges this single person directly in the US?
He should be sent back to Germany, trialed there, and the US can only sue the company. Everything else is a huge violation according to US thinking even.
Think about China would jail and trial a US citizen that is doing on business for Google in China.
7 years is not enough.
This is a global-scale fraud including long term environmental side-effects.
Those vehicles are still out there and will be circulating for at least 10 more years.
This guy should dry in jail.
Interesting, in US do white-collar criminals have separate prisons, or do they sit with murderers, rapists, mobsters, etc..?
Really glad consequences are being held for a person who also benefited from it before.
Nice. What about Equifax? Or only European enterprises are to be held accountable?
While the actions were certainly dishonest, I have misgivings about the actually illegalality of it.
Certainly the court disagrees with me, but in my mind it ran to standards within the requirements of the test, it meets the requirements. Seems like the test is flawed to me.
Its odd to me how many people in this thread are either for or against this decision, not based on a fixing a problem rationale but on moral grounds that this person deserved or didn't deserve the punishment.
Does your computer program deserve to be debugged, fixed, and recompiled when it has thrown an error? What would that even mean? Was it evil or bad because it didn't perform how we wanted it to?