Skip to comments.Innocent verdict returned in child labor case
Posted on 06/07/2010 11:58:20 AM PDT by Piranha
Associated Press - June 7, 2010 2:44 PM ET
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A manager of the Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant has been found innocent of child labor violations uncovered during a 2008 immigration raid has been .
Sholom Rubashkin was charged with 67 counts of child labor violations involving teenagers from Guatemala and Mexico who worked at Agriprocessors Inc.'s plant in Postville in 2007 and 2008. Rubashkin, whose father owned the operation, was described as the CEO and co-vice president of the company.
The Black Hawk County District Court jury, which found Rubashkin not guilty Monday, began deliberations Friday after almost a month of testimony and arguments.
Prosecutors argued dozens of children were working at the plant on the day of a May 2008 immigration raid, saying Rubashkin did nothing to end the violation.
Defense attorney Mark Weinhardt said Rubashkin's "mistake was trusting" the personnel department.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Perhaps this verdict can cause the lynch mob to take a second look at the crimes for which Rabbi Rubashkin was convicted and the sentence being sought.
That damn “personnel department”! Taking job away from American workers so that uneducated South-of-the-Border teenagers can get paid minimum wage at a dirty, demanding and perhaps dangerous job. Perhaps it’s because the Rabbi couldn’t afford to pay Americans the sort of money they’d want for doing this stuff. Easier to import illegal kids under the age limit - plus they’re so grateful to have the money to send back to the hovels back home.
This is the heart of why we have an immigration problem. A business prospers (over competition), the small community got more money for their schools to stay open, etc. Who lost? The former meatpacking workers who were getting $18 or more and hour and supporting a family. Plus the tax payers who subsidized the education and health care for underpaid workers.
This guy is guilty as sin..and may go free as a bird..great country isn’t it?
This Iowa case was about minors, not illegal aliens. The issue is that the prosecutors had no evidence to show that Rabbi Rubashkin knew that minors were working at his plant, and he was able to introduce evidence that he refused to hire people whom he knew were underage and even made efforts to get rid of underage workers when he knew they were there.
The government of Iowa spent $35,000 to fly illegal aliens back to Iowa to testify against him in return for giving them work visas that would give them right to remain in the US and try and find work.
This is hardly a guilty-as-sin-free-as-a-bird situation.
There’s no such thing as an “innocent” verdict.
“Not guilty” would be the term.
Makes me wonder what else the story got wrong.
“Innocent” is a journalistic convention from way back. They started saying that to avoid situations where the word “not” was inadvertantly omitted from news reports.
I seem to remember a lengthy discussion on the topic of the Federal case some months ago. This guy was convicted on more than 80 counts related to financial misdeeds. The Feds considered those counts so serious that after his conviction they decided to drop the immigration charges against him because they felt it would have been a waste of time and money to secure additional convictions.
Was he just a manager, or an owner? If a manager who was just an employee, he would be expected to take the employees sent by the HR/personnel department at face value. If an owner, he cannot dodge responsibility for the various crimes.
Yes, he never was prosecuted for having illegal aliens working in the plant. I imagine he was uninformed about their illegal status, as he was about their age.
He’s the owner and CEO, inherited the business from his dad.
Perhaps the personnel department is a bunch of pre-teens from Crete, working for candy.
The company went into bankruptcy and his family no longer has any stake in it. Regardless of the sentence that is imposed in the federal case, his family was financially ruined as a result of this case, so nobody can argue that he “got away” with anything. Moreover, he has been in jail throughout the trial and doubtless will be sentenced to some additional time as well.
Yeah, they had to fly *illegal aliens* back to testify because the company that HE ran was hiring *illegal aliens* to fill the jobs. Didn’t he ever walk through his factory? Did he have no idea who his workers were? He never noticed that the place was filled with non-English speaking teenaged Guatemalans?
Do you know the Rabbi personally? Or admire him for some other reason? You are putting up a strong defense for the man who has committed crimes and fallen back on the “I was just a naif” explanation because he has nothing better. His family was “ruined financially” as a result of being convicted of major economic crimes. Plenty of families were probably ruined financially when his firm let them go to hire illegal workers, and none of them committed any crimes to get ruined. Do you feel sympathy for them? Are you posting any threads about them?
I feel as sorry for the rabbi as I do for Madoff.
HR, you make sure there's no underaged illegal aliens working here which would drastically lower my cost of doing business and lower the profit sharing you get. *wink, wink, knudge, knudge, counts money as he walks away.
You asked, "He never noticed that the place was filled with non-English speaking teenaged Guatemalans?"
I don't know about you, but the fact that people were not speaking English would not make me think that they speakers were illegal aliens. I worked in a company where all of the techs spoke togalog and I am sure that they were in the US legally.
During the trial the defense established that it was difficult to ascertain the ages of the people who worked there, most of whom were garbed from head to toe in protective clothing.
I don't know Rabbi Rubashkin personally; to my knowledge I never met him. He was not convicted of major economic crimes. I am up in arms about this case because it was handled like a mob action with lots of theatrics that were handled in a way calculated to destroy a man and send him to jail for the rest of his life.
The prosecutors abused their discretion, in my opinion, by prosecuting him on multiple counts all stemming from the "bring down" certificates that he delivered to his bank in connection with his bank loan. He had to certify to the bank that the company was not in violation of any law, the violation of which would have a material adverse effect on the business or operations of the company.
If he was wrong he should have been sued by the bank.
Instead, because the bank's parent's finances were guaranteed by the FDIC, this became a federal bank fraud case. The government used each bring-down certificate as the basis for multiple counts against Rabbi Rubashkin.
The government never prosecuted him for hiring illegals. Instead, they prosecuted him for delivering a certificate to the bank that said the company was in compliance with all material laws even though there were illegals on the payroll. However, in the state trial related to hiring minors, the state government failed to establish that Rabbi Rubashkin knew that any minors were working there. Presumably, he also was unaware that there were illegals in the operation, but the government deprived him of the right to assert that defense because of the procedural posture they took in the case. To me, this is a deprivation of due process under law.
Now the prosecutors are seeking to have Rabbi Rubashkin imprisoned for 25 years to life.
As for Bernie Madoff, I don't care if he never gets out jail alive. I have no basis to believe that he was prosecuted or sentenced unfairly.
I think the important point was what inspired the jury nullification?
That is, no matter what we personally think, this was not a hung jury, but an acquittal jury. This means that 12 citizens decided he was not guilty.
Usually this means two things. The first is that the jury feels the defendant is being railroaded. The second is when the defense puts on a home run performance.
Of the two, the first is more common. That is, the prosecution, and the government come across as oppressive and abusive. This happens far more than it should.
Actually, it was a jury comprised of six jurors and two alternates, not a 12-person jury, but I think your point is well-taken.
To their credit, Iowa’s Attorney General released the following statement:
We alleged that Sholom Rubashkin was on notice repeatedly and that he knew from his own management staff, from child labor investigators, and from his own eyes that there were scores of children working on the floor of the slaughterhouse, and we alleged Rubashkin ignored his obligation to do something about it. But the jury found reasonable doubt. We respect the process, and the jury has the final say. We commend the jury for their five weeks of attention during the trial, and for their 12 hours of deliberation.
I am not sure why you are defending this man. He has been convicted of many counts of bank fraud, he very certainly knew that hundreds of illegal aliens were working at his plant. He beat the child labor rap by claiming ignorance. None of this makes him innocent or deserving of the title rabbi.
I am defending him because he was the victim of a witch-hunt. Agriprocessors was raided because illegal aliens worked there, yet nobody ever was prosecuted for hiring illegal aliens. After the raid (which came following a letter from his attorney to ICE telling ICE that the company was aware that there were illegals working there and asking to cooperate to resolve the situation) the company was forced out of business and into bankruptcy.
The only case that arose out of employment issues at the plant was the state case which was brought for hiring minors. Rabbi Rubashkin was charged personally in that case and the jury found him not guilty on EVERY SINGLE CHARGE based on the prosecutors’s failure to demonstrate that he knew that minors worked there.
The bulk of the charges for which Rabbi Rubashkin was convicted in the federal court had to do with the illegals who worked at the factory. The government alleged (and the jury agreed) that he signed bring-down certificates to the bank in connection with the company’s revolving loan in which he stated that the company was not in violation of any material laws. Later, the court alleged that the company was in violation of laws against hiring illegal aliens, and he was indicted and found guilty on multiple counts.
Because the case was about bank fraud and not about hiring illegal aliens, he was not able to defend himself by demonstrating that he was not aware that illegals worked there.
By the logic of the court, any executive who signs a bring-down certificate for a bank in connection with a revolving line of credit for his company can be found criminally liable AND JAILED if it turns out that at the time he signed the document the company was committing acts that later were found to be illegal!
The state case is highly significant. It demonstrates a failure of due process, in that Rabbi Rubashkin was denied the opportunity to defend against the charge of knowingly employing illegal aliens at Agriprocessors. This would have been critically important to his case since he won the only case that relates to his company’s employment practices. Presumably, if he had been afforded the opportunity to defend himself directly against the charges relating to the company’s hiring of illegal aliens he would have won on those charges as well.