Jeff Skilling had his appeal denied yesterday, but the 5th circuit did say the judged erred with the sentencing. And though he won’t be a free man anytime soon, the ruling could bring about his exit a bit sooner. Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall, who knows the Enron case better than anyone else, analysed the entire ruling:
In the curiously detached 104 page opinion, the Fifth Circuit affirmed Skilling’s conviction, but reversed his sentence and remanded that part of the case to U.S. District Judge Sim Lake for resentencing based on the appellate court’s rejection of Judge Lake’s four level enhancement under the sentencing guidelines for for “substantially jeopardizing a financial institution.”
Based on my rough calculations, I think that means that the range for Skilling sentence would be reduced from 292-365 months to 188-235 months. If Judge Lake resentences Skilling at the bottom of new range, then Skilling’s 24 year sentence would be reduced by 104 months, which computes to an 8.5 year reduction.
(Note that Skilling lawyer Daniel Petrocelli just said on CNBC they believe that the sentence could be reduce by as much as 10 years).
As hinted above, Kirkendall is thoroughly unimpressed by the opinion, and he’s produced an excellent annotation of the whole ruling, drawing attention to its weaknesses.