One justice suggested that anyone lying to their boss and being unproductive at work could violate the honest-services fraud law.
You tell the boss you like his hat so he’ll leave the room so you can keep “reading the racing form” could be a criminal “violation,” Justice Stepen Bryer said.
Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that a worker who calls in sick and goes to a ballgame instead could be depriving his employer of “honest services.” Brent Kendall of Dow Jones Newswires pointed out the exchange in his wrap-up.
The law is often used by prosecutors corporate and public officials for failing to act in the best interest of their constituents or employers.
The Court heard two of the three honest-services cases it will hear today, but still to come is the appeal of Jeff Skilling. Skilling claims the law is unconstiutionally broad.
Justices Bryer and Sonia Sotomayor brought up the Skilling case today, and the government said that case will rest on whether the statute requires a “an element of personal or private gain be read into the statute in order to render it constitutional.”
The question presented in the Black case, the first heard today, whether the statute requires the defendant to contemplate “identifiable economic harm.”
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