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June 30, 2010

Former NC lottery commissioner first(?) to get released based on Skilling honest service ruling

A helpful reader sent me an order entered yesterday in Geddings v. US (available for download below), in which a district court has ordered the release of a former North Carolina lottery commissioner based on the new narrowed interpretation of the federal honest services fraud statue set forth in last weeks Skilling decision. Here is a key snippet from the order:

On June 24, 2010, the court orderedthe United States to submita memorandum of law not later than June 29, 2010, addressing whether this court should grant post-conviction relief to Geddings.  On June 29, 2010, the United States submitted a memorandum acknowledging that under Skilling:

it is no longer a federal crime for state public officials to corrupt their public offices by engaging in undisclosed self-dealing. The new interpretation of Section 1346 does not cover the undisclosed self-dealing that Geddings committed in connection with his service as a North Carolina Lottery Commissioner. Consequently, the Government concedes that Geddings is entitled to have his conviction vacated.

Govt. Mem. 1.  The government also contends that Geddings is not entitled to relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or 28 U.S.C. § 1651, but is entitled to relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See id. at 2, 10-12 (citing In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328, 332 (4th Cir. 2000)).  The government moves the court "to release Geddings, as soon a practicable, pending the resolution of the Section 2241 process."  Govt. Mem. 2, 12-13.

Download Geddings Order 6-29-10 -- Release

I hope somebody will end up keeping track of how many convictions end up vacated as a result of the Skillingruling, as well as what sentences were imposes/served based on convictions that end up vacated.  Notably, Kevin Geddings got sentenced to 48 months in May 2007and was denied bail pending appeal in June that same year.

June 30, 2010 at 03:19 PM | Permalink


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A related issue that interests me is whether people like Mr. Geddings, whose convictions are vacated and set aside as a result of the "Skilling" Supreme Court decision last week will be able to recover any monetary damages from the Government for the time they spent in prison for conduct that we now know was not illegal (at least not pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 1346!).

And, will the Government now seek to re-indict Mr. Geddings under some other criminal statute, if the 5 year Federal statute of limitations on most crimes has not yet expired as to his conduct.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jun 30, 2010 6:59:15 PM

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