U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

George Ryan to Remain in Prison Until 2013

George Ryan has to serve the rest of his prison term, according to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Chicago-based court denied the former Illinois governor's appeal seeking release from prison on Monday, reports The Associated Press.

Ryan was convicted of racketeering, mail fraud, tax evasion, and lying to the FBI in 2006. The mail-fraud charge alleged that Ryan defrauded Illinois of its intangible right to his honest services by covertly acting in the interests of some private supporters rather than as a fiduciary for the state's citizens. Ryan challenged the conviction, claiming that the jury instructions were defective because they permitted the jury to convict him on an honest-services theory without finding a bribe or a kickback.

Last year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals noted that there was sufficient evidence of bribery and kickbacks in Ryan's case, but the Supreme Court remanded the case in April based on its Wood v. Milyard decision. (Wood addressed whether appellate courts have the authority to raise a forfeited timeliness defense sua sponte.)

The Seventh Circuit didn't take long pondering this decision. The appellate court heard oral arguments in Ryan's case on July 20, and released an opinion just over two weeks later. The court found that jurors clearly believed prosecutors proved Ryan took bribes, according to the AP.

What does this mean for George Ryan? We're sure he's disappointed about spending another year in the slammer, but now he has more time to plan his comeback. Ryan should take a page from Louisiana's ex-con governor, Edwin Edwards, who has proven that a post-prison second-act can be pretty sweet.

Related Resources: