Tuesday, April 1, 2008

They're Expecting A Crowd for Skilling

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has special instructions on its website about the Skilling oral argument set for today. For example, it states "[n]o one will be allowed to enter any of the courtrooms prior to 1:00 p.m., April 2, 2008, to allow court staff to set up additional chairs in the East Court room, and prepare other courtrooms for overflow spectators."

The case will be heard by three judges: Hon. Jerry E. Smith (Yale law grad, Reagan appointee), Edward C. Prado (Texas law grad, George W. Bush appointee), and Alia Moses Ludlum (Texas law grad, George W. Bush appointee) (see Times Picayune here).   

Some of the key issues before the court are:

  • Whether there was a Brady violation in the failure of the prosecution to provide the Fastow Notes and full discovery pre-trial.
  • Whether there is any reason not to follow the court's precedent in the Brown case with the prosecution's use of  the "honest services" theory.
  • Whether there was error in instructions given to the jury with respect to deliberate ignorance.
  • Whether it was improper to refuse instructions on materiality, reliance, and "oral side deals."
  • Whether the accused was deprived of a fair trial as a result of the venue of this trial.
  • Whether the accused was provided sufficient voir dire.
  • Whether errors with respect to the honest services doctrine spillover to other aspects of the case.
  • Whether there were sentencing errors.



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