This Wall Street Journal editorial from earlier in the week rightly notes that the “Department of Justice finally got something right” by electing not to appeal the Second Circuit’s decision earlier this year upholding U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s dismissal of tax fraud indictments against 13 former KPMG partners.
In the KPMG case, the DOJ made KPMG an offer that it couldn’t refuse — either ignore the firm’s long-standing policy of paying the criminal defense costs of its indicted partners or be prosecuted out-of-business ala Arthur Andersen.
Judge Kaplan concluded that dismissal of the indictments was the only reasonable remedy in the face of the DOJ’s deck stacking. I’m happy for the former KPMG partners, who at least get their lives back (but probably not their careers) from the threat of long imprisonment.
But what about Jamie Olis?
Unlike the KPMG case, the DOJ actually got away with undermining Olis’ criminal defense by threatening Dynegy with indictment unless it quit paying Olis’ criminal defense costs. Dynegy cratered to the DOJ’s threat and a cash-strapped Olis was unable to mount the most effective defense at his trial. The result was a conviction and a barbaric 24 year sentence, later reduced to a merely unconscionable six year term.
Olis is currently scheduled to be released from prison in mid-2009. This man and his family have already been tortured for over five years in one of the most egregious examples of prosecutorial abuse and excess of the misguided post-Enron governmental crusade to punish businesspeople.
Isn’t it about time that the DOJ finally got something right in the sad case of Jamie Olis?