“WE GOT HIM!”
VW engineer gets three years

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LA Times (August 26, 2017): “VW engineer gets 3 years” AP

There’s hardly much reason to quote anything here about “following orders”, or less to the point that “Justice was served”

James Robert Liang, “…knew that the German automaker was cheating and worked to cover it up.” He’s one of two lone engineers that VW seems to be quite content about with regards the pair’s guilty pleas to the wholesale (600,000 automobiles) defrauding of VW owners and dealers as well as endangering the health of the public in general. Which prompts me to editorialize that those two peeps must have been very busy boys.

The prosecutor in the Federal action asked for a sentence of 36 months in jail and a $20,000 fine and the judge doubled down and raised that bid to a nice, round 40 months in the hoosegow moving the decimal point on the fine one digit to the right ($200K).

This guy … what’s his name: Liang, was wrong, criminally complicit, misguided … what else? But, unless I’m way off base, he’s sure as sunrise not the guy (or guys) at the top who OKed this betrayal of the dealers that sold these cars as “Clean Diesel” and the customers who bought them in good faith … and paid extra for the privilege.

And right … the company has been made to pay, and pay dearly on a corporate level, but this poor bastard was assuredly not the person who pushed the button on this one.

He’ll be hanging out in a minimum security lock-up on the outskirts of Detroit, while the heavies back in Wolfsburg take a deep breath and a big deduction on their corporate taxes, and while stateside VW dealers (bless ‘em) try to regain at least a modicum of the respect and confidence the public once had in the VW brand and their dealership’s reputation for offering well-designed, well-built, honest motorcars.

The Times article goes on to indicate that Liang, “… faces deportation to Germany after his release from prison.” It doesn’t mention his nationality, but based on current law, my assumption is that he’s a German citizen. And, of course, that means that some months from now he’ll go back to the Vaterland as a convicted felon and whoever he took his orders from will likely remain unnamed and for sure not made to stand trial.

The war will be over, reparations paid, and all will return to normal; except for one thing: “Clean Diesel” (everywhere in every civilized country, at home and abroad) will never be trusted again. And all the DEF in the world won’t help; nor will just being content to tend your roses be an adequate defense. -DS

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