Friday, February 29, 2008

Conrad Black Off to Prison

Conrad Black was ordered to prison and denied bail pending appeal.  After receiving a sentence of 6 1/2 years, and being given 12 weeks before having to report to prison (see here), Conrad Black will now enter a prison facility in Florida. The appellate court denied the newspaper leader bail pending appeal, although the Chicago Tribune notes here that the court acknowledged that a substantial question was raised. Conrad Black's two co-defendants were granted bail pending appeal.

To obtain bail pending appeal, the accused needs to show that he or she is not a flight risk and not a community danger.  It is also required that the defendant show that the case raises a "substantial question." The substantial question test is somewhat amorphous and courts are left to provide order in using this standard.   And although the court did not rule in favor of Conrad Black, they allowed him some time prior to ordering him to report to prison.

Conrad Black will be reporting to Coleman - here.


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The problem was this: For your "substantial issue" to warrant bail, it has to have the potential to cause a reversal of every count on which significant incarceration was imposed. (Or you have to have a "substantial issue" to raise on appeal with respect to each such count.) The "substantial issue" identified in Black's motion, according to the Court of Appeals panel, affects only the fraud convictions and not the obstruction of justice count. Hence, close but no cigar. Supposedly, bail decisions like this are not used against the appellant-accused by the later "merits panel" that will actually decide the appeal. Based on experience, I am a little skeptical about that.

Posted by: Peter G | Feb 28, 2008 8:25:58 PM

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