Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ryan Denied Skilling Relief and Bail

A US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois- Eastern Division, denied former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan Sr.'s request of Skilling relief  and "bail pending the ultimate resolution of this motion."  In a 59 page order here, the court held:

  • The Skilling decision "announces a new substantive rule of criminal law" allowing the "re-set[ting] the clock for filing [  ] post-conviction" relief.
  • Ryan's "conduct for which he was convicted - steering contracts, leases, and other governmental benefits in exchange for private gain - was well-recognized before his conviction as conduct that falls into the 'solid core' of honest services fraud."
  • Claiming improper jury instructions, the court finds "that the Bloom instruction, the conflict-of-interest instruction, and the state law instructions should not have been given"  but then holds the error as harmless.
  • Page 42 et seq. of the opinion has a wonderful footnote (# 14) and text that reviews relevant post-McNally and Skilling holdings. 
  • The court rejects any spillover effect of Ryan being prejudiced "by the admission of evidence that would not have been admissible in a post-Skilling honest services fraud prosecution." 

But the saddest part of this decision is that the court fails to grant bail to Ryan pending the resolution of this motion despite acknowledging "the sad news that his wife of more than fifty years is suffering from a terminal illness."  This is particularly troubling as the court notes that Ryan "poses no risk of recidivism nor danger, were he to be released."  Sometimes the law is very cold to humanity and this is sad.

(esp)

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