Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kenneth Lay's estate: death and transfiguration

Ken Lay may have died a debtor, but apparently he'll be laid to rest as an affluent former CEO.

Bloggers spotted this strange turn of events soon after Lay's death was announced. The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog reported:
Lay’s conviction might be expunged, says criminal law professor Peter Henning in a fascinating post on the White Collar CrimeProf blog. Citing Fifth Circuit law (the federal jurisdiction encompassing Houston), Henning says that when a defendant dies before appellate review of a conviction, the death “abates, ab initio, the entire criminal proceeding.”
Since Mr. Lay, in death, was never convicted of anything, efforts by the Justice Department to get at his remaining wealth, estimated at around $8 million, plus unspecified life insurance proceeds, seem temporarily thwarted, reports the New York Times.

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