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January 29, 2006

Could (and should) the Enron trial impact Jamie Olis resentencing?

As documented by posts here and here over at How Appealing, the big (non-Alito) legal story for the coming week is the start of the criminal trial for former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling.  Though there are lots of potential sentencing angles to the Enron story, this morning I have been pondering whether the trial perhaps could (or should) impact the future resentencing of Jamie Olis, the former Dynegy executive whose sentencing status remains uncertain since his 24-year prison sentence was reversed by the Fifth Circuit a few months ago.  (Lots of background on the Olis case can be found here and here.)

As detailed in this Houston Chronicle profile, the federal judge presiding over the Enron trial, Judge Sim Lake, is the same judge who first sentenced and now must resentence Jamie Olis.  I am inclined to speculate that the shadow of the coming Enron trial perhaps influenced Judge Lake to postpone Olis's resentencing earlier this month, and to further speculate that developments in the Enron trial might consciously and unconsciously impact Judge Lake's consideration of the many tough sentencing issues that the Olis case presents.  Adding intrigue, of course, is the fact that Enron developments could influence Judge Lake to go tougher or to go easier on Jamie Olis the second time around.

January 29, 2006 at 10:40 AM | Permalink


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I had the opportunity to witness the opening statements yesterday in the Skilling and Lay Trial. The opening statement conducted by Mike Ramsey was as an impressive opening as any lawyer could have delivered. Peppered with humor, common sense, humility and righteous confidence, Mr. Ramsey’s down-home ability to communicate with the jury about this complex case was inspiring. It was obvious, from the reaction of those in the court room, that Mr. Lay’s choice in hiring such able local counsel was inspired. Should Mr. Lay face sentencing in this matter, which is now in question, I have no doubt the sentencing issues will be preserved and appealed with continued expertise. On the sentencing side, it is ironic that the recent string of harsh white-collar sentences could cause real change in the federal sentencing regime, where those less fortunate, and perhaps less identifiable to those sitting in judgment, could not.


Posted by: John Floyd | Feb 1, 2006 1:45:57 PM

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