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December 20, 2007

What is Reyes being sentenced for again?

Greg-Reyes%20122007.jpgFollowing on this post from last week that pointed out the illusory nature of the financial damages attributed to former Brocade CEO Greg Reyes' backdating of stock options, the W$J's Holman Jenkins -- who has been the most lucid mainstream media voice condemning the witch hunt mentality that permeated the criminal prosecutions involving backdated stock options -- pens this column on the Reyes sentencing, in which he concludes:

Punishment should fit the crime; dozens of executives have lost jobs over backdating; a few have been asked to disgorge money and sign regulatory settlements that don't require acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Even the trial lawyers have been unable to make a meal out of this scandal, thanks to an absence of demonstrable shareholder harm.

The great flaw in the Reyes prosecution, which was the first of its kind, was the prosecution's attempt to fulfill the media image of backdating, rather than focusing on the venial offense it was. The government has suggested Mr. Reyes should face 10-20 years. Judge Charles Breyer, in a recommendation recently unsealed, proposed 15-21 months. Some law bloggers think it not impossible Mr. Reyes will receive a suspended sentence.

Let's hope so. Because unless we plan to send Steve Jobs and a hundred other executives to jail for backdating, it would be grossly disproportionate to inflict jail on Mr. Reyes.

Read the entire column. By the way, the Reyes sentencing has been postponed indefinitely.

Posted by Tom at December 20, 2007 12:00 AM |

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