Patterico's Pontifications


Feds Recommend One Month Jail Time For Felicity Huffman In College Admissions Case

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

In a court filing by federal prosecutors yesterday, it was recommended that Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman, who was caught up in what has been dubbed the “Operation Varsity Blues” scandal, should serve one month in jail and pay a $20,000 fine. This in spite of the fact that under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors could have asked for anywhere up to six months of jail time for Huffman:

In the filing, the prosecutors wrote to the judge in the case that Huffman’s conduct was “deliberate and manifestly criminal.”

They recommended that, after spending a month in jail, she should also have a year of supervised release.

“In the context of this case, neither probation nor home confinement (in a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool) would constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes,” the prosecutors wrote.

They added that Huffman’s “efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”

“Millions of parents send their kids to college every year. But they don’t buy fake SAT scores and joke about it (“Ruh Ro!”) along the way,” they added, referring to an email Huffman wrote in 2017.

Huffman’s attorney’s countered:

…Huffman’s attorneys requested the judge sentence her to a one-year term of probation and 250 hours of community service. She would also pay the $20,000 fine called for in her guilty plea, they said.

Huffman wrote a letter of remorse to the judge, and attempted to explain what motivated her bad decision-making, culminating with this:

“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot. I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family.”

She also described how her daughter, who is alleged to have not known about her mother’s actions, reacted when she found out about it:

“When my daughter looked at me and asked me with tears streaming down her face, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?’ I had no adequate answer for her. I could only saw, ‘I am sorry. I was frightened and I was stupid.’ In my blind panic, I have done the exact thing that I was desperate to avoid. I have compromised my daughter’s future, the wholeness of my family and my own integrity.”

Taking her letter at face-value, she is remorseful and repentant, and fully owns her bad decision. She is the face of contrition, which is the most that anyone can hope for. While her decision can’t be undone, her moral character can recover. While it is true that parents will go to extraordinary lengths to help their children and protect them from all sorts of things, Huffman’s daughter was not facing any threat or duress from which she needed protecting. This was an effort to get her daughter into college. Huffman claimed that she agonized over her decision for six months, and yet during those six months, she chose to stay the course. Huffman’s actions reflected that she was willing to forsake moral character because she overvalued a college education. Huffman discusses in her letter that her daughter was “diagnosed with learning disabilities,” and that this was a way to get her into one of the colleges she was interested in. However, rather than having her daughter’s best interests at heart and realistically encouraging her to attend a community college and take the necessary remedial courses to improve her test scores, or explaining to her that sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want, and that perhaps her dream of being a theater major at a particular college just wasn’t in the cards for her, she used her money and influence to buy the easy way out – for both of them. Parenting, good parenting is the hardest thing in the world to do. Ironically, it relies wholly upon the moral character and integrity of people who are highly fallible and fallen from grace, and who will inevitably make decisions that do not reflect the highest of virtues. None of us are exempt. At the end of the day, Huffman’s saga not only demonstrates a parent doing that which is not in the best interest of one’s child, but it is also a cautionary tale that everything done in the dark will eventually be exposed to the light, and with that exposure comes devastation and the potential for irreparable harm to the very people whose best interests we thought we were acting upon.

The sentencing hearing will take place on September 13.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


29 Responses to “Feds Recommend One Month Jail Time For Felicity Huffman In College Admissions Case”

  1. It is quickly becoming a lost art, this ability to not only accept disappointment in life, but to also rise above it.

    Dana (fdf131)

  2. One month, eh? SMDH

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. It was a well-said expression of regret. I hope Ms. Loughlin’s statements are similarly remorseful. I actually like her in her Hallmark roles and hope she comes back.
    Jail time seems harsh to anyone except for the dicks involved with selling and executing this scam. The coaches who fell for it will forever have black marks on their careers, and the “clients” should be out their money and their kids should be booted from the schools they illictly entered.

    Paul Montagu (a2342d)

  4. Chris Villani
    The only person sentenced so far in this case is former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer. The government asked for 13 months in prison with a prosecutor forcefully asking the judge to send a strong message.

    He got a day in jail, suspended.

    harkin (bef919)

  5. If her daughter had gone to 2 years of community college and taken the college transfer classes with the appropriate grades, she would have been guaranteed entrance to any of the UCs that had an agreement with that community college. This wasn’t panic, it was vanity.

    They should’ve fined her way more. At least the price of 4 years of UC tuition, fees, and room and board, for example.

    Nic (896fdf)

  6. The $20,000 seems harsh. Infinity pool maintenance will take a hit, as will Democrat fundraising.

    Munroe (732181)

  7. Reagan was an actor, too, just like Huffman; these types excel at faking emotions– like remorse. They can even earn a living at it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. Maybe the judge will allow her to serve weekends only. Her husband wrote that she deserved leniency because of her “empowering” trans peeps in “Transamerica”.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  9. No jail would be a pretty clear slap in the face to parents expecting a fair shake for their kids. This was a secret “Privilege Line,” with Privilege holders laughing about their ability to evade the line for smart and honest rubes.

    Next we’ll find out that injured kids waited 2 hours in the ER, because someone was taking bribes to fast track a rich kid with a blister.

    Time in the Can should be a given.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  10. Huffman’s only regret is she was caught. Faking sincerity- and remorse- is her trade.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  11. As o.j.simpson said leaving the court room. Aint america great you can get all the justice you can afford!”

    lany (4b0337)

  12. who gives a crap

    mg (8f83ac)

  13. the funniest thing was the cut rate Madoff who got leniency for offering up these marks, so the laws don’t matter as we discovered with greg craig this week,

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. I have one of my huge contrarian views here (big surprise, right?), but I am hoping that Lori Loughlin and her husband beat the rap on their charge. Sure, a part of it is that I always had a bit of a crush on her, but I think it’s mostly because this whole story has received coverage way out of proportion to whatever infractions were committed. Ms. Loughlin’s daughters have to live the rest of their lives knowing that mom & dad purchased their way into USC, and Ms. Loughlin has been dropped from the new Full House and all of the Hallmark Channel movies she was doing. I think that is punishment enough.

    As for Ms. Huffman who copped a plea, she gets what she deserves for knuckling under to The Man. The irony is that the daughter she was trying to get into USC apparently wants to be an actress like mom, and if there is any industry more devoted to nepotism than Hollywood I have yet to hear of it. Instead of paying someone to alter her daughter’s test scores, Ms. Huffman could have easily just landed the girl a role in some movie or TV show. What a waste of effort.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  15. It’s weird that there is the belief that college is necessary in order to become an actor because obviously it isn’t.

    Dana (fdf131)

  16. Ms. Loughlin’s daughters have to live the rest of their lives knowing that mom & dad purchased their way into USC

    …as well as everyone in America knowing it too! That’s gotta be horrible for a kid.

    Dana (fdf131)

  17. 11. Don’t start with “the rich, the rich.” OJ didn’t buy is way out of a conviction. The city’s AA population was furious to start with, after a Korean grocer shot a black kid for trying to steal orange juice, and got no jail time. It was a mistake by the grocer, but no jail time had, what is the saying, bad optics. Then the prosecution bored the jury to death, with displays like a 30 day presentation on DNA. Not to mention Chris Darden’s inexplicable challenge to OJ to try on those famous gloves. And did I mention that OJ was perhaps the most liked citizen in LA at the time? The judge was also seemingly star struck, and foolishly let in a detective’s racist musings caught on tape. The whole trial was botched.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  18. the long and the short of it, was they didn’t care about another blonde and their boy friend, getting fileted, because no one had shown them any such consideration, certainly that was the impression,

    narciso (d1f714)

  19. I’ve got to agree (mostly) with JVW: the parents were doing their best to help their children get ahead, but just didn’t go about it right. Had they given a gift directly to the college — Lori Laughlin’s $500,000 could have bought a bunch of new computers for the language lab or something — it wouldn’t have been a bribe, but just Business As Usual.

    It’s just that starring in Hallmark Channel stuff doesn’t have the same cachet as being an elected politician, like Malia Obama getting into Hahvahd or Chelsea Clinton into Stanford. (The younger George Bush was at least a legacy at Yale.) So, if your name ain’t big enough, you’ve got to pony up some cash and endow something.

    And now you know why a poor boy like me matriculated at the University of kentucky!

    The other Dana (e4d0c6)

  20. 20: Yes: those types of payments at least carry some benefit for everyone else. A new hall; a computer lab. This was not that.

    One reason Univ. of Cal. was such a great idea: great state University system for the top 10% of the high school classes. And I could never have afforded to go anywhere comparable.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  21. 17, when schools as such hire that way, is it for recruits for Saban?

    urbanleftbehind (d2ef51)

  22. Got a good chuckle at the A’s game last night… Oakland being next door to Berkeley, big screen scans of the stands had the crowd cheering when the crazy Cal kids with their pennants waving were on and the same from Stanford were booed quite lustily, without mercy.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. the parents were doing their best to help their children get ahead, but just didn’t go about it right.

    Were they helping their kids get ahead, or were they fulfilling their own wants? Clearly a kid with a diagnosed learning disability needs help. Did Huffman provide help, or did she skip that critical part – a part which she had more than ample resources to obtain the best help possible – and jump to the “here’s what I want” part: smooth sailing only? Yes, from the report, her daughter wanted to go some specific schools to study theater. Why does “helping her get ahead” mean providing her with what she wanted? Especially if what she wanted was something that was currently out of reach *because of her SAT scores*. Wouldn’t parents who did their best to help their kid get ahead be compelled to first, provide the necessary professional help so that they could get ahead through their own hard work and sweat and struggle? I just don’t buy that Huffman’s motives were purely about helping her daughter get ahead. I don’t think she wanted the struggle that comes with a kid with a learning disability for herself or for her daughter.

    I have a kid with a diagnosed learning disability. My job was to provide options and resources and encouragement and an unwavering belief that the task could be met. I couldn’t make him take advantage of anything that was provided to help *him* meet the goal, and had I suggested that we pull a Huffman, he would have lost all respect for us. It would have never occurred to me to put integrity aside just to give him what he wanted. I mean, what would there be left of that relationship?

    Dana (fdf131)

  24. @24 They were fulfilling their own wants. In California, if you go to a California community college and do your first two years in transferable coursework with passing grades, you are guaranteed admission to one of the linked University of California schools. And you can go to a community college with any level of HS equivalency (or sometimes none).

    Nic (896fdf)

  25. This reminds me of the quiz show scandals from the late 50’s. If you’re too young, google it. There’s plenty corruption in this to go around with lots of duped and suckered participants. Investigations occurred, reforms were made, some careers launched; others wrecked and still others managed a quiet return I time as memories faded.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  26. ^I=in

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. who gives a crap

    mg (8f83ac) — 9/7/2019 @ 2:29 pm

    It’s not an issue critical to the well-being of our country, of course, but it’s also not about Trump, so I would think that alone makes it an interesting post.

    Dana (fdf131)

  28. You can read a letter from Huffman’s husband, actor William Macy, to the judge here.

    Dana (fdf131)

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