Monday, March 17, 2008
"Armchair economics is not the way to decide complex securities cases."This line from the Tenth Circuit decision in the Nacchio case says it all. The decision discussed here recognizes that white collar crime cases are not simplistic cases. Document cases need to be explained to the jury, and this can require testimony from qualified experts. In reversing and remanding the Nacchio conviction, the court recognizes that white collar cases deserve to be treated with a high standard. Not only do juries need to be provided with the expert opinions that will allow them to understand the financial matters being presented, but the accused also deserves to have his or her day in court. This is especially true given the large sentences that are being given to those convicted of corporate related crimes. The right to present a defense is an important principle in our criminal system. This decision reaffirms that principle and emphasizes that included in the right to present a defense is the right to explain that defense to the jury.