Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Court Overturns Andersen Conviction

"Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the [judge's] instructions required," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote in the opinion for the court. "For example, the jury was told that, 'even if [Andersen] honestly and sincerely believed that its conduct was lawful, you may find [it] guilty.' "
The Court's opinion was unanimous. Andersen's conviction led to it's demise. I find it striking that the judge's instructions were apparently so far from the law. I believe the judicial branch of government has to be the branch most committed to protecting individual liberty. Is that commitment strong enough at this time? I wonder if a judge committed to protecting individual liberty could have chosen to give the jury instructions given? Many individual lives were greatly harmed by a judge's incorrect choice. Perhaps Andersen would still have been found guilty with proper jury instructions. Of course, I can say it is encouraging that the Supreme Court's opinion is consistent with protection of individual liberty, and yet, the harm to Andersen has already been imposed.

Arnold Kling says Arthur Andersen Posthumously Exonerated and he discusses some of the wider harms caused by this "miscarriage of justice."

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