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Should ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's conviction be thrown out?

The Supreme Court sided with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling in limiting the use of the "honest services" law. The federal fraud law is popular among white-collar crime prosecutors, but critics say that it is vague and has been used to make a crime out of mistakes and minor transgressions in the business and political world.

Despite the ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that it did not necessarily require Skilling's conviction to be overturned. Skilling, convicted in 2009, is currently serving a sentence of more than 24 years at a minimum security prison outside of Denver. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  June 24, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Unfortunately, the question on the home page was different than the question actually in the poll and I voted the wrong way. As bad as the Enron situation was, it was a huge reach by the government to convict Skilling and I think his conviction should be overturned. The sentence he received was incredibly harsh as well. Ironically, the worst perpetrator got off with only a short sentence because he testified against others.

Posted by: trottime1 | June 24, 2010 11:46 AM

That almost happened to me too! C'mon WashPost, please make sure the question on the homepage and the actual poll question are the same to avoid confusion for readers. Elementary stuff.

Posted by: WesD | June 24, 2010 12:32 PM

I'm writing from California, and the name "Enron" still conjures up images of laughing energy traders at Enron submitting bogus trades and snickering about "Aunt Millie" freezing in the dark unless she pays an inflated electric bill.

Skilling should be glad there are prison walls between him and the California ratepayers he cheated.

Posted by: shadowmagician | June 24, 2010 12:34 PM

Since when do we vote on whether someone should be convicted of a crime?? While these gentlemen may be scumbags, there is a rule of law that must be followed. The prosecutors used a broad, vague law to convict; due to the vagueness, the conviction has been overruled. The Post would be much more effective is it educated readers on the meaning and functioning of the rule of law.

Hopefully they either have other charges that will stand, or they will be retried under charges that can withstand a review.

The problem is with Congress and the laws they pass not being specific. Unfortunately, due to new business models and technology, many people who are unethical (or become) can use loopholes to do despicable things. The process of losing ones' ethical bearings is slow, with people rationalizing their scuzzy actions a little bit further every year.

Posted by: eeterrific | June 24, 2010 1:08 PM

The "rule of law" seems to be replacing patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | June 24, 2010 1:42 PM

Stole billions of retirement money, does a few years in a country club jail, then the rich judges set him free.

Rip off a 7-11 for one hundred bucks, spend the rest of your life in a hard-time jail.

Posted by: beenthere3 | June 24, 2010 2:01 PM

He ruined the lives of thousands of Americans, including a few thousand who worked directly for him. These were the worst harmied since they trusted this slime bag for investment advice and he lied to their faces and stole their retirement funds. He SHOULD be serving life. This court is the most eggregious activist court in our history. They are continually poohing on our Constitution and the principles on which our nation was founded. They think that not only should corporations be able to purchase whichever officals they want to hold office, but now they are arguing that coporate officials should face no consequences if they steal from "the small people." There must be some check on this dire case of an activist court abusing it's authority to take away our Constitutionally protected rights, instead of using their branch as a bulwark against tyranny.

Posted by: John1263 | June 24, 2010 3:03 PM

Could it just be that we have an activist conservative SCOTUS, which even the most "liberal" judges are actually center right, combined with the horrific incompetence of the bush DoJ which was reticent to even put the Enron people on trial - they were bush's largest personal campaign backers --- and perhaps they just made the weakest case they could hoping it would be overturned on appeal? It saved bush political embarassment with the knowledge that the criminal perps would probably eventually walk.....

Posted by: John1263 | June 24, 2010 3:10 PM

This person wrote

"That almost happened to me too! C'mon WashPost, please make sure the question on the homepage and the actual poll question are the same to avoid confusion for readers. Elementary stuff."

That's the American voter: they vote blindly.

Can't you people read what's in front of you?

Posted by: coqui44 | June 24, 2010 8:13 PM

The "rule of law" seems to be replacing patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels.



Hmmmm....obviously you don't understand law. There are rules, and if you don't break the rules, you don't go to jail. If Congress can't make clear rules (and the "honest services" law was known to be too vague), then people who shouldn't go free go free. Perhaps you should have paid attention in your high school civics class.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. The Enron group and Conrad Black should be punished, but not due to a poor law.

And by the way, it was that "conservative / reactionary" Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that wrote the decision. Bad law is bad law....

Posted by: eeterrific | June 24, 2010 8:45 PM

From what I've read, it sounds like the law here is not sound and complete. Let's get a law written that can properly handle the cases discussed today (Skilling, Blago, etc.)

And let's let the courts decide who is guilty of a crime and not try and pretend that this is a proper topic of a public opinion poll. Wash Post, this poll is entirely improper.

Posted by: dcc1968 | June 25, 2010 1:52 AM

SCOTUS has determined big corporations are 'individuals' deserving of 1st amendment rights which simply means the purchasing of elections is a right of big corporations.

This is another ruling showing SCOTUS is a joke. The rule of law is another joke

Posted by: neec13 | June 25, 2010 5:30 AM

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