The Holmes case has stirred up a lot of controversy. Many people are criticizing her for hubris and for not taking her business more seriously. Others believe that she was wrongfully convicted and should be released from prison. The case is still in appeals, so it remains to be seen what will happen next.
Amidst the waves of venture capitalists and billion-dollar startups that have propelled Silicon Valley to its current prominence, another echelon of tech entrepreneurs is quietly thriving – those who don’t have access to the latest in semiconductors, computers and other high-tech tools. These “dropouts” are using something far more important: their minds.
Given the severity of Holmes’ conviction and the looming deadline, many are speculating that she may attempt to flee the country in order to avoid imprisonment.
Judge Davila’s decision effectively denies permission for Holmes to remain free while she appeals her conviction, reaffirming the Probation Department’s recommendation that she serve twelve years behind bars. Her lawyers have argued that there is clear evidence that she will not flee, but the judge does not believe her story raises a significant legal issue that may result in a reversal of all charges against her.
Sunny Balwani’s request to remain free pending an appeal of his conviction was denied by the Ninth Circuit three weeks later. As a result, he voluntarily surrendered to a low-security prison facility in San Pedro, California from mid-March to last Thursday.
The defense lawyers argue that the prosecutors skirted evidence and procedure rules by disclosing the identity of a witness just five weeks before the government’s opening arguments. This move is believed to have violated Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which aims to give defendants sufficient time to prepare their defense.
The families of many criminals who have received lenient sentences from the U.S. government often choose to turn themselves in and be transferred to a federal prison facility, such as the Federal Prison Camp at Bryan, Texas . The decision is typically made after consulting with a court that has recommended this particular prison for the convict. Holmes’ family reportedly wanted her to serve out her sentence close to where she grew up in part, and where some members of her family still reside.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the minimum-security facility has dormitory housing for its roughly 550 inmates, has a low staff-to-inmate ratio, and offers an opportunity for inmates to work and participate in programs. The facility is “work- and program-oriented,” offering an approach that is different from traditional prisons. This allows inmates to receive rehabilitation while remaining incarcerated.
In the years after Holmes dropped out of Stanford, her technology was widely celebrated by the business press for being able to test for hundreds of conditions with just a small amount of blood. Investors also believed her claims, providing additional funding to Theranos and giving it a valuation of $9 billion. However, in early 2018 it was discovered that Theranos had been using its false claims to attract investors and gain power. The company has since filed for bankruptcy and Holmes is currently facing charges related to fraud.
The Holmes and Balwani indictment could be considered a breaking point for the company, as it revealed that their technology did not work as advertised. Shortly after, the company announced its intent to formally dissolve. This event led to significant losses for shareholders, who lost millions of dollars in value.