This Dallas Morning News article reports that the sad case of Jamie Olis, the mid-level Dynegy executive who was sentenced to a 24 year prison sentence last year for attempting to prove his innocence on accounting fraud charges, has taken what can only be described as a punitive turn for the worse:
First he received 24 years in prison for accounting irregularities that got his plea-bargaining boss a five-year sentence. Now Jamie Olis has been moved to a tougher prison, and his wife has e-mailed friends asking for prayers.
Mr. Olis, 39, a former midlevel accounting executive at Dynegy Inc., has been transferred from a minimum-security lockup at Bastrop, Texas, to a medium-security prison at Oakdale, La., according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records.
“He is in a place where prison gangs are a necessary part of day-to-day existence and in a population that includes people who are serving multiple life sentences,” Monica Olis wrote in an e-mail to friends.
She has declined to comment to the news media.
Meanwhile, oral argument on Mr. Olis’ appeal of his sentence occurred today at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. David Gerger of Houston is representing Mr. Olis in the appeal. Here is the Chronicle story on the oral argument.
According to the Chronicle story, a substantial part of the oral argument was taken up with questions from the panel to the prosecution regarding the evidence of the financial loss that the accounting scam allegedly caused. That is a key issue because U.S. District Judge Sim Lake relied on an absurdly high financial loss figure in calculating Mr. Olis’ sentence. As noted in this earlier post, even the government expert on financial loss upon whom Judge Lake primarily relied acknowledged that he did not testify that Project Alpha caused the amount of monetary loss that Judge Lake used in sentencing Mr. Olis
Although Mr. Olis is the poster boy of how the federal sentencing guidelines had run amok and needed to be overturned, the darker story is that the case is an egregious example of failed prosecutorial discretion. The conduct of the Justice Department in this case is shameful and the failure of the current Justice Department leaders to do anything about this miscarriage of justice reflects poorly on the Bush Administration. Here’s hoping that the Fifth Circuit uses this opportunity to right a clear wrong.