Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Former United States Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson will represent Mississippi attorney Paul Minor in his upcoming appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. Olson, now with the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, moved immediately into action with an extension of time application that provides clues as to the arguments that will be forthcoming. For openers Minor's convictions are tied to the "honest services" statute, a statute under review this term in three cases (Skilling, Black, and Weyrauch). Also mentioned is the tension between the Fifth Circuit's decision in Minor's case and the McCormick and Sun-Diamond Supreme Court decisions that necessitate a quid pro quo. The Fifth Circuit had previously vacated the convictions premised on section 666 and remanded the case for resentencing. The Fifth Circuit in its decision also noted that both the McCormick and Evans cases "left open the question of what level of specificity is required to prove a quid pro quo in regard to the 'quo' or agreed-upon official act." What is particularly fascinating about this case is that it has "honest services" but also includes bribery allegations. If 1346 is unconstitutionally vague this issues may be resolved. But if the Court distinguishes bribery cases under honest services fraud, it may open up other arguments on when a bribery would fall within the reach of the "honest services" fraud statute.