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October 13, 2009

SCOTUS to review fraud convictions of Jeff Skilling, former Enron executive

As detailed in this AP report and this SCOTUSblog post, the biggest and perhaps highest-profile white-collar conviction of recent vintage is going to be reviews by the Supreme Court.  Here is the SCOTUSblog report:

The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to rule on claims that “searing media attacks” on longtime Enron executive Jeffrey K. Skilling tainted his criminal trial and conviction on various fraud charges.  The case also raises an issue on the scope of the federal law punishing the failure to provide “honest services” as a corporate executive.  This was one of four cases granted review, to be argued early next year.

I am pretty sure there are no sentencing issues before the Court in the case, but I cannot help but have a feeling that the long sentence initially given to Skilling may have played at least some role in the Justices' determination that this case merited review.

Among the interesting sentencing-related issues going forward is whether Skilling will now request bail pending SCOTUS review.  Conrad Black failed to get such bail when the Supreme Court took up his case, but he (a) had served less time, and (b) was subject to a much shorter sentence.

October 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink


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I was gratified, but also a bit surprised that they granted cert. in Skilling, when they already have a couple of other honest services cases on the docket. Skilling isn't Mother Teresa, but he doesn't deserve what the government did to him.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Oct 13, 2009 12:18:02 PM

I'm somewhat surprised this received a grant rather than just held over for GVR. Although it will also be good to put some constraints on the bounds of honest services. Either that or they don't trust the 5th circuit to do an honest evaluation after GVR.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 13, 2009 12:33:49 PM

Does anyone think the “searing media attacks” will have any traction? The briefs should prove to be interesting.

Posted by: George | Oct 13, 2009 1:10:45 PM

"will also be good to put some constraints on the bounds of honest services"

Why? This is SB's baby. He's the one who thinks government officials should be given free reign to cheat and lie. What did he say, oh yeah, there is nothing in the Constitution that requires honesty either in personal or public affairs.

Once again the court is going to take a policy disagreement with Congress and turn it int a victory for the rich and powerful. Isn't democracy fantastic.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 13, 2009 2:27:34 PM

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