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November 1, 2005

Media coverage of reversal of Olis sentence

The media has picked up on Fifth Circuit's decision late yesterday to reverse the 24-year federal sentence of former Dynegy executive Jamie Olis (which I discussed here late last night).  The Houston Chronicle has this basic account, and this Bloomberg news story provides a lot more background about the case.  Also, the blogosphere continues to cover the Fifth Circuit's decision very well: in addition to Tom Kirkendall's comments here (which have engedered interesting reader comments), you can now get thoughtful takes from Larry Ribstein here and from Ellen Podgor here.

In the Bloomberg story, I am reminded that two other "former Dynegy employees, Gene Foster and Helen Sharkey, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for five-year sentences."  I suspect that these sentences will serve as notable benchmarks in what should be a very interesting Booker resentencing.  I can imagine the government will argue that Olis should not get a sentence less than these other defendants who pleaded guilty, and it seems likely the district judge will be mindful of such comparative sentencing realities when conducting Booker analysis.

November 1, 2005 at 02:03 PM | Permalink


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Notice the footnote regarding the government assertion that alternative sentence should be based on the "amount of defendant gain" which is defined by them as Dynegy's tax benefit from the deal. This is clear admission by the government that Olis did not gain personally but they still want him to serve time for the gain from the alleged fraud to his company... Wow- how screwed up is that? I want to know where are the high security cells for the Dynegy board who approved this type of deal with the intention of seeking gain to the company? I am surprised that the prosecutors don't want him serving time for the gain that each shareholder made on Dynegy stock sales but oops! I guess that would be admitting that there were gains to shareholders as well as losses but well that wouldn't help them make their point! Point being.. ummm...what was that again? Oh yeah- we're right no matter how wrong we sound- so just go with it or else.

What about any mention of the "unindicted co-conspirators" such as Dynegy's CFO and head accountant who were absolutely key to the transaction and the alleged fraud but were never charged themselves? Sounds like 3 mid level people were running the whole show at Dynegy- controlling accounting and taxes and finance.. gee whiz.. Everyone including the appellate court are so hush hush about this very real problem of individual prosecutor-controlled disparity and selectiveness without regard to real culpability and the related games of witness/evidence suppression. All Olis really got was the right to resentencing which was blatantly obvious to any objective person so why did the government-leaning 5th circuit waste almost a year to render this opinion? I guess this is about as good as government work gets-- certainly not the full picture but apparantly it'll have to do. I hope the judge does the right thing and doesn't just follow typical government form but I'm not holding my breath.

By the way, why have the two co-conspirators never been sentenced 1 year after Mr. Olis' trial and what about the many unindicted co-conspirators that would not testify at Mr. Olis' trial at risk of severe penalty from the government? They have never been bothered either so long as they keep mum... What is this all about anyway? What is government so afraid of that they can't play fair? Afraid of the unrestrained truth and a sure loss if they have to play this particular game by the rules of fairness.

Posted by: FJO | Nov 1, 2005 4:43:10 PM

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