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May 29, 2009

Conrad Black appeals to Justice Stevens for bail pending SCOTUS ruling

In this post last week on right after the Supreme Court granted cert on Conrad Black's criminal appeal, I asked "Should Conrad Black (and Jeff Skilling and others) be set free pending SCOTUS action?".  My query prompted a spirited debate in the comments, and now it may prompt a spirited debate in Justice Stevens' chambers.  This new AP article explains why:

Former media executive Conrad Black is seeking his release from prison, at least until the Supreme Court decides whether to uphold his fraud conviction.

Black has served nearly 15 months of a 6 1/2-year prison term following his conviction in July 2007. In early May, the high court agreed to hear an appeal from Black and two other former executives of the Hollinger International media company who were convicted in connection with payments of $5.5 million they received from a Hollinger subsidiary.

The court probably won't hear arguments until late this year and a decision is unlikely before late winter. In the meantime, the judge who presided over the trial has said one of the men, John Boultbee, can be released on bond. 

The government did not oppose Boultbee's release, said Miguel Estrada, Black's Washington-based lawyer.  But it "steadfastly refuses to consent to bail for Mr. Black," Estrada said in a court filing he directed to Justice John Paul Stevens.  Stevens handles matters that come to the court from Illinois.

May 29, 2009 at 12:53 PM | Permalink


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When was the last time the Supreme Court granted bail in circumstances such as these? (That is, a convicted felon who has already been in prison for a long time.)

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | May 29, 2009 4:24:10 PM

Not one time since enactment of the Bail Reform Act of 1984, according to what the Chief Deputy Clerk told me a couple of years ago. See also Morison, 486 US 1306 (1988) (Rehnquist, CirJ, in chambers). But if anyone can pull it off, it would be Miguel Estrada, who represents Conrad Black in these proceedings.

Posted by: Peter G | May 30, 2009 1:09:45 AM

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