Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Arthur Andersen, LLP, prosecuted and initially convicted for the alleged crime of obstruction of justice, had its conviction overturned by the US Supreme Court. CNN reports here that The Department of Justice has now announced that it would not re-prosecute the company. Unfortunately, this turn of events does not assist the many employees who lost their jobs when the government indicted this company. What three lessons can be learned here -
1. That the government prosecutorial power carries enormous weight, and DOJ needs to recognize its power and use it wisely.
2. That innocent until proven guilty does not always work in our judicial system; especially when an appellate or supreme tribunal may overturn a conviction and the ramifications of the initial guilt still remain.
3. That using obstruction of justice as a shortcut, as opposed to investigating and prosecuting underlying conduct is not always the easiest avenue to pursue, especially in the long run.