Supreme Ct Ruling May Affect Bruno Case

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday could impact the prison sentence for New York’s former state Senate Majority Leader, Joe Bruno.

The Supreme Court threw out two convictions under the federal theft of honest services law, one concerning former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling, saying the law was interpreted too broadly and should be limited to actual evidence of bribery or kickbacks.

Bruno was also convicted under that federal statute last December, and was sentenced to two years in prison. The judge suspended the punishment, though, while the court was deliberating.

It’s unclear whether the decisions apply to Bruno’s case, but the former Senate leader, in a statement, says he has “maintained faith and trust in the justice system,” and is reviewing the decision to determine his next step. Bruno would likely need to appeal his conviction and sentence to a federal appeals court.

State Sen. Dan Squadron, a Democrat who has sponsored a number of ethics reforms measures, says the high court’s ruling, whatever its effect on Bruno’s conviction, shows the need for New York State to have tougher ethics laws of its own.

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