Sean Hecker is a partner in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which is a white collar practice group. Sean served as a trial attorney in New York. While responding to a question regarding his most challenging task, Sean asserted that conducting corruption investigations was most difficult. He undertook the investigations by virtue of being a team member of Siemens AG Compliance Committee. The challenges that he encountered were language, cultural and legal barriers. Others were constant travel that left him with less time for his family. He was also exhausted because of the short duration for conducting the investigation. Fortunately, for him the case was the most rewarding in his career. While abroad, Sean had undertaken a crash course in conducting investigations. Working with experienced people such as Bruce Yannet and Matt Fishbein made the investigation worth the time and effort.
According to Sean, the aspect of sentencing reform necessitates more changes. Sean decries United States’ incarceration rates that dwarf those in other developed nations. He asserts that the criminal justice has much discretion in terms charging decisions by the prosecutors. Sean posits that prevalent mandatory minimums and lengthy periods of incarcerations have contributed to increased incarceration rates in the country.
Sean argues that he is concerned about the FCPA area as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC have a liberal view of jurisdiction. Usually, SEC, FCPA and DOJ focus on corrupt individuals, persons who violate interstate commerce laws or engage in any corrupt business within the U.S. Sean contends that the DOJ and SEC consider that de minimis contracts with the U.S. are within the purview of territorial jurisdiction. These contacts include wire transfers, transmission and storage of emails as well as mailing packages to the United States. According to Sean, there is little sign that DOJ and SEC will change their views on FCPA jurisdiction.
Outside his firm, the attorney that impressed Sean the most is Schapiro Andy. Andy is a partner at Quinn Emanuel. As a young law clerk, Andy’s charm, talent and ability to use the right arguments in order to enhance the outcome of his client captured Sean’s interest in criminal defense. Ultimately, Sean became a federal public defender starting from 2003 to mid-2006.
In his first criminal trial, Sean asserts that while defending his client on the accusation of Hobbs Act robbery, the eyewitness identified the juror as the robber. Immediately, Sean asked the judge to record that the witness had identified the juror as the person who robbed the furniture store. The next day, the witness was allowed to identify the perpetrator for the second time. When Sean complained about the witness having identified the perpetrator, the judge overruled his objection. Even though his client was acquitted, Sean learnt that it is prudent to think twice before making any comment, especially when things are working in one’s favor.