In the Headlines
December 21, 2009

Honest services ruling could stymie prosecutors

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
White Collar Defense Partner Daniel Small was quoted in a December 21 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article titled "Honest services ruling could stymie prosecutors."

The article discusses the controversial "honest services fraud" statute and the impact that its widely anticipated revocation will have on public corruption cases. The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in two unrelated cases in which defense attorneys asked the justices to declare the widely used law unconstitutionally vague. While the ambiguity of the statute is not disputed by prosecutors, they stress its importance to the current system. "In the world of federal corruption prosecutions, there is no question that the outcome of these cases is enormously significant and is going to directly impact a number of prominent prosecutions across the country, including several here in Massachusetts," said Mr. Small, a former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor. "If the court strikes down the honest services fraud statute, which many believe they will, it's going to wreak havoc on a number of indictments and leave a large hole in the government's ability to go after these cases. And it's really not clear to me how that hole will be filled."

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