Banker Quattrone gives Penn $15M to research solutions to US criminal justice system problems

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania has received a $15 million gift to examine the U.S. criminal justice system from someone who has had some experience with it: banker Frank Quattrone.

Penn announced Tuesday that it is establishing the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, where scholars will identify, analyze and propose solutions for problems with the justice system.

Quattrone said in a statement released by Penn that while the American system “may very well be the best in the world,” it’s not perfect.

“With each passing day, the frequency and sometimes tragic consequences of its mistakes, as well as the risk of random unfair outcomes for all Americans, are becoming better understood,” he said.

Quattrone, who made his name and a fortune during the height of the tech boom, was found guilty of obstructing a federal probe into initial public stock offerings at Credit Suisse First Boston. The conviction was tossed out on appeal, and prosecutors agreed in 2006 to drop the charges if he stayed out of trouble for a year.

Quattrone’s deferred prosecution deal was unusual in that it did not require him to admit wrongdoing. The dismissal of the criminal case allowed him to resume a career in finance.

The justice centre will be housed at the law school of the Ivy League university in Philadelphia. It’s expected to host conferences, seminars and workshops, as well as provide in-depth research on topics that might include reducing wrongful convictions, evaluating forensic practices and compensating victims of institutional misconduct.

“It will extend to justice the same revolution in evidence-based approaches and outcomes that are already taking place in medicine and education,” Penn law school Dean Michael A. Fitts said in the statement.

Quattrone now runs Qatalyst Partners, a San Francisco-based investment bank focused on advising technology companies on mergers and acquisitions. A spokeswoman said he was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Law school spokesman Steven Barnes called Quattrone “a towering figure in business and Silicon Valley’s top dealmaker,” noting the banker’s recent involvement with Yahoo’s planned acquisition of the blogging site Tumblr.

Quattrone’s wife, Denise Foderaro, is a research assistant with the National Registry of Exonerations and an advocate for the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to clearing wrongfully convicted inmates.

Both are Penn alumni who have given previously to the university.


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