Clay v. United States: When Executives Receive Jail Time for Ordinary Business Decisions

The conviction of health care company executives for actions based on a reasonable interpretation of a vague Florida law offers a sobering case study on abuse of prosecutorial discretion and the iniquities of overcriminalization of business conduct. Due process and basic fairness demands that people be on notice that their conduct could be criminally sanctioned well before the government prosecutes them- in time to conform their conduct to the law in advance. The Legal and business communities have a substantial stake in the outcome of this appeal. If the eleventh Circuit fails to overturn the executives’ convictions, it will embolden prosecutors to continue their abusive practices, and the erosion of integrity and fairness in our criminal justice system will continue apace.

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