The Champion

September/October 2007 , Page 26 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

Is That What I Meant? Litigating Intent in White Collar Crime

By Demosthenes Lorandos

The state of a man’s mind is as determinable
as the state of his digestion.”
Edgington v. Fitzmaurice,
29 Chancery Division 459 (1889)

What do Kenneth Lay, Martha Stewart, Jeffrey Skilling, and Conrad Black have in common? They all intended to do smarmy things. How do we know? The juries told us so. And it was easy for those juries to come to that conclusion. As litigators in white collar crime, we all live in fear of the “you don’t have to know the law to show intent” instruction.1 And let’s not forget about the “he wasn’t paying attention” instruction,2 the “willful blindness” instruction,3 and “‘knowledge’ includes deliberate avoidance of knowledge” — the much feared “ostrich instruction.”4 

Intentionality clearly plays a crucial role in white collar criminal prosecutions. In fact, it is usually a key element of the charged white collar offenses — be it conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, falsifying books and records, insider trad

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.
login

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us
ad