Enron & culpability (was: Dear John Hall)

Russell Turpin deafbox@hotmail.com
Thu, 24 Jan 2002 04:16:41 +0000

John Hall:
>If they were drinking the koolaid and their actions indicate that then they 
>should be home free unless they meet a relatively tough standard of being
>'willfully blind'. Otherwise, you simply criminalize failure. ..

Someone who didn't commit a criminal act should not be
convicted, period. But for most criminal acts, you don't
have to prove the criminal's larger frame of mind,
whether they thought things would turn out well or not,
whether they intended for anyone to get hurt, etc. It
is enough that they understood what they were doing,
and that it was in fact criminal. The issue I raised
was not one of defining what is criminal ex post facto
-- which is rightly unconstitutional -- but how much
the law must delve into the accused's state of mind.
My understanding is that criminal intent is a lower
bar than you were suggesting. But ..


>If you can't know, with a normal effort, that your actions will be 
>considered illegal then you should never be convicted. ..

What constitutes normal effort depends on the legal
responsibilities one assumes. Lawyers and certified
accountants carry special burdens in their professional
capacity. People who run public companies are also
stepping up to a plate that may require them to learn
some about law related to that undertaking. Or so it
seems to me.

Join the world’s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.