Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ex-Gov. Ryan's guilty verdict stands despite jury controversy

Governor Ryan's conviction last year has been affirmed. From the Chicago Tribune...

The decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for Ryan to begin serving a 6.5-year prison term that he received last year after a historic six-month trial. But his lawyers could try to forestall that with a further appeal.

In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge appellate panel found that U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer acted within her authority when she replaced two jurors during deliberations after the Tribune revealed they had failed to disclose information about their criminal backgrounds.

"We conclude that the district court handled most problems that arose in an acceptable manner, and that whatever error remained was harmless," Judge Diane Wood wrote for the panel. "We therefore affirm the convictions."

Ryan was convicted in April 2006 on charges that as secretary of state and governor, he doled out sweetheart deals to co-defendant Lawrence Warner and other friends and used state resources and employees for political gain.

Warner's conviction was also affirmed today.

Ryan and Warner, who was sentenced to almost 3.5 years in prison, had been allowed to remain free while their appeal was pending.

The court's ruling means Ryan's legal options are dwindling.

He can ask the full 7th Circuit—a group of 11 judges—to review the three-judge panel's decision. If the court declines, he can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the nation's highest court accepts very few cases.
This was certainly big news today. A few months ago I blogged about how he was trying to keep his state pension. It was also in the news today that a judge ruled that he was not entitled to any of his pension.

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