This Chicago Criminal attorney thinks former Governor Blagojevich’s trial shouldn't start next month.
At first glance, it may seem that this is some sort of "delay tactic” by the defense, but don’t you think the accused has the right to know what charges are being levied against him? That’s just the issue that Blagojevich has raised. It all stems from another big case, involving Conrad Black that is back in the news now awaiting an anticipated ruling by the Supreme Court next month on honest services.
A federal law that is a favorite tool of prosecutors in corruption cases met with almost universal hostility from the justices in Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday.
The law, enacted in 1988, makes it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” The law is often used to prosecute corporate executives and politicians said to have defrauded their employers or constituents.
Justices across the court’s ideological spectrum took turns on Tuesday attacking the law as hopelessly broad and vague.
Justice Steven G. Breyer estimated that there are 150 million workers in the United States and that perhaps 140 million of them could be prosecuted under the government’s interpretation of the law.
In quick succession, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Scalia and Breyer recited what they called a fundamental principle: that the public must be able to understand what a criminal law means.
“If it can’t,” Chief Justice Roberts said, “then the law is invalid.”
You did know the former governor is being charged with theft of honest services (amongst other things) didn’t you?