Article: ‘Does the punishment fit the crime?’

Article - Media, Publications

‘Does the punishment fit the crime?’

Tatiana Walk-Morris, 14 April 2021

In 2018, William Thomas C. was caught with 18 pounds of cannabis a few days after returning home from vacation with his grandchildren. He was charged with cannabis trafficking and manufacturing or delivering more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, according to court records. Before then, William, better known as Tom, ran a family farm and a lawn care business in Bloomington, Illinois. Since Tom has been serving a nine-year sentence at Centralia Correctional Center, his sister Tara C. has managed his businesses and talks with him several times a week.

Tara, who asked for her last name to be withheld to preserve her career, said Tom suffered a terrible motorcycle accident several years ago and turned to marijuana to help with his pain management as an alternative to prescription medications. During Tom’s trial, his family had to sell assets to pay for his attorney’s fees. But following his conviction, Tara reached out to the Last Prisoner Project, a Denver-based nonprofit which advocates for the freedom and welfare of people imprisoned for cannabis convictions, to help free Tom. Continue reading “Article: ‘Does the punishment fit the crime?’”

Article: Supreme Court Decides Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Manning

Article - Media, Publications

Supreme Court Decides Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Manning

Chuck Webber, Jeffrey P. Justman, James G. Martignon, 05 May 2016

On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Manning, No. 14-1132, holding that that the “arising under” test for federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 determines whether federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction under section 27 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) of lawsuits to enforce liabilities or duties created by that Act. (The Court did not address the portion of section 27 that gives federal courts exclusive jurisdiction of “violations of this chapter or the rules and regulations thereunder” with respect to criminal and regulatory enforcement actions.)

Greg Manning owned stock in Escala Group, Inc., a company traded on the NASDAQ. Between 2006 and 2007, Escala’s share price plummeted and Manning lost most of his investment. Manning blamed Merrill Lynch and other financial institutions for devaluing Escala during that period through “naked short sales” of its stock, under which one borrows stock from a broker and sells it to a buyer on the open market, but never delivers the shares back to the buyer. “Naked” short sales of stock may be designed to drive down a company’s stock price, and are accordingly regulated by Regulation SHO. Continue reading “Article: Supreme Court Decides Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Manning”

Article: SCOTUS Send Merrill Lynch Case to NJ State

Article - Media, Publications

SCOTUS Send Merrill Lynch Case to NJ State

ADAM KLASFELD, 06 May 2016

Merrill Lynch and other brokerage firms must face a state court case that says illegal naked short sales cost investors more than $800 million, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. The shareholders brought their case four years ago in New Jersey over the Fortune 500 memorabilia company Spectrum Group International, then known as Escala Group. One of the investors, Greg Manning, said “naked short selling” sent his more than 2 million Escala shares into a nosedive. In typical short sales, investors speculate that the price of a stock will decline and purchase securities that they do not currently own in order to profit from the fall. Securities laws and regulations mandate that a short seller borrow the stock it sold and deliver it within four days of sale. Continue reading “Article: SCOTUS Send Merrill Lynch Case to NJ State”

Article: In Pursuit of the Naked Short by Alexis Stokes

Article - Academic

In Pursuit of the Naked Short

Alexis Stokes, Texas State University

Journal of Law and Business 5/1 (Spring 2009)

This article explores the origins of naked short-selling litigation; considers
the failures of significant naked short-selling lawsuits in federal court;
surveys the obstacles erected collectively by constitutional standing requirements, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, brokerage firms, death spiral financiers, and the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation; examines the efficacy of Regulation SHO, SEC rule 10b-21, and new FINRA rules; discusses recent state legislation and state court litigation; and identifies non-litigation options to curb naked short-selling. Ultimately, this article seeks to answer the question: If manipulative naked short-selling is more than a mythological scapegoat for
small cap failure, what remedies are, or should be, available?

PDF (62 Pages): Article In Pursuit of the Naked Short

Article: Overgrown Hedges

Article - Media

Overgrown Hedges

Christopher Byron

New York Post cited by RGM Communications via Wayback, 26 September 2005

One of the first things any new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission does after getting the job is to clear his throat, put on his best “I mean business” scowl, and announce to the world just how tough he intends to be on the miscreants of Wall Street.

Normally, this harmless ritual lets the man taking on Washington’s most thankless job preen a bit in public before getting smacked to the canvas by a system that basically doesn’t want him to be tough at all.

But these are not normal times — and the one thing this country needs more than anything is a government that knows what it is doing and that deserves to be taken seriously by its citizens.

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