Prosecutors want Congress to pass a law quickly that would prevent the conviction of Enron’s Ken Lay from being wiped out because of his death, reports the Houston Chronicle. The U.S. Justice Department filed in federal court a draft of a proposed law that would prevent judges from vacating criminal convictions if a defendant dies before going through the entire appeals process. Lay’s defense team has asked a court to void the conviction, citing a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals case involving a Texas man who was convicted but died before his appeals were exhausted.
Prosecutors argued that vacating the case is unfair to crime victims. “It erases the hard-won verdicts against those who have wronged them, verdicts that might aid crime victims in civil litigation,” prosecutors argued. Some legal observers criticized the move. “It’s beyond desperate. It’s vindictive,” said Houston trial attorney David Berg. “Prosecutors are supposed to strike hard blows, not foul blows. This is foul.”