Sunday, July 1, 2007
Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and former Alabama Governor Siegelman remain in jail after the court had them taken immediately from the courtroom into custody. Unlike many white collar offenders, these gentlemen were not afforded the opportunity to report to prison. Additionally they were not given the chance to remain free pending their appeal. (see here and here)
It may seem difficult to discern when an individual is allowed to remain free pending their appeal, and whether they will be permitted to report to prison as opposed to being hopscotched through the prison system to their eventual assignment. Some examples - Jamie Olis of Dynergy went directly to prison; Bernie Ebbers remained free pending his appeal; Jeff Skilling went to prison immediately but was allowed to report to his assigned facility; Bill Campbell - former Mayor of Atlanta - went to prison immediately but was allowed to report to the facility.
One thing is clear - if you cooperate with the government, you will likely be given the courtesy of being allowed to report to prison. Today, if you avail yourself of your constitutional right to trial by jury, and are unsuccessful at that trial, there is a chance of one of three things happening: 1) you will remain free pending the appeal; 2) you will get to report directly the facility after the Bureau of Prisons has made the assignment; or 3) you will go directly to jail.
A key factor in remaining free pending the appeal is whether there is a "substantial question of law or fact" that might result in an eventual reversal of the conviction. This is an issue that "Scooter" Libby's counsel will likely be addressing in the appellate court.
In the Scrushy/Siegleman appeal, we are likely to see some fascinating issues considered. For example, is this a bribery case where neither the briber or the bribee received any personal benefit? And if so, how do you ascertain the loss is this scenario? For other appeallate issues see here. But whether the 11th Circuit will consider these issues sufficient to offer an appeal bond, remains to be seen.