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H-P's Dunn Enters No Plea, Charges Dismissed 156

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the buying-your-way-out-of-trouble dept.
GogglesPisano writes "CNN earlier reported that former HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent wire communications stemming from her involvement in last year's corporate eavesdropping scandal. The story was later amended after charges again st Dunn were dropped. The original charges, four felony counts, were reduced to misdemeanors in exchange for a plea bargain. Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness." Update: 03/15 02:21 GMT by KD : The prosecutor in the case issued a correction to the eariler pronouncement that Dunn would plead guilty to a misdemeanor. "At court today, Patricia Dunn did not enter any plea in response to the misdemeanor count, and the court exercised its discretion by dismissing the case against her," the revised statement said.
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H-P's Dunn Enters No Plea, Charges Dismissed

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  • by biocute (936687) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:12PM (#18354179) Homepage
    Rubbish! Dunn should still be expected do some light community services despite the illness.

    Phone cleaning lady springs to mind, it's lightwork.
  • Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:12PM (#18354183)
    According to TFA the court dismissed the charges against Dunn - do the submitters not read the TFA either ?
    • Here's why (Score:3, Informative)

      by gcnaddict (841664)
      http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/14/technology/hpq/ind ex.htm?cnn=yes [cnn.com]

      "Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by terrymr (316118)
        Kind of ironic when you put out a false press release in a case when you're dealing with fraud isn't it ?
        • Link [canada.com]

          The California Attorney General's office issued a statement saying that its news release "mistakenly predicted that the HP defendants would enter 'guilty' pleas to a misdemeanour count of fraudulent wire communications."

          Strange that they would make a prediction. Perhaps that is a coverup as to what really happened.

    • by Radon360 (951529) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:30PM (#18354463)

      Well, if CNN revised their article after learning that the AG office's press release was incorrect, they should have posted the revised story as a new story and put a link to the revised story in place of the first one with a note saying that it's been revised. News stories should not be treated like it were the news company's Wiki.

      It's somewhat bad policy not to leave some trail of the revision history. Why do journalists feel they can be so sloppy about their work? Do the editors not take their jobs seriously anymore?

    • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by GogglesPisano (199483) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:32PM (#18354493)
      Yes, I did read the article.

      In the roughly three hours that elapsed between the time that I submitted the story and the time that it appeared on the Slashdot front page, there were apparently further developments in the story and the article on CNN was changed.

      I refer you to the (modified) CNN article:

      Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges.
    • by terrymr (316118)
      How did I get moderated Troll for this one ?
  • Sickness (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:12PM (#18354191)
    From Wikipedia:
    "Dunn has survived breast cancer and melanoma, and was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in January 2004. Chemotherapy treatment led to remission until August 2006, when she underwent surgery to remove liver metastases. Dunn was scheduled to start chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer on 6 October 2006 at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dave562 (969951)
      So she spent the best years of her life climbing over other people to get to the top, and now that she's there her body is completely trashed. Hmmmmm, I think I'll stick with my $65k a year and lots of free time to exercise and eat well.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Ghworg (177484)
        That's what excessive use of the Dark Side will do to you.
      • by dougmc (70836)

        Hmmmmm, I think I'll stick with my $65k a year and lots of free time to exercise and eat well.
        Eat right, stay fit, and die anyway.
        • by dave562 (969951)
          Eat right, stay fit, and die anyway.

          Very true, we all die in the end. For me the trade off is whether I will be fit and mobile in old age, or will I be popping pills and half conscious because of all the medications? When you look at someone like Dunn who has a bunch of cancer in her body, it's pretty obvious that she didn't have the time to eat well and exercise. She was too busy working those long hours and earning all of that money, which is now worthless to her now that she is at the end of her life

        • by Splab (574204)
          Not me! I'm gonna live forever.. Or die trying!
  • by Radon360 (951529) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:17PM (#18354245)

    She didn't plead guilty, the charges were dropped. From TFA:


    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A state judge in California Wednesday dropped the charges against ex-Hewlett-Packard chair Patricia Dunn, who was accused of wire fraud in the company's boardroom spying scandal.

    Earlier today the California Attorney General's office issued an incorrect press release stating that defendants would enter guilty pleas to the wire fraud charges.
  • Plea bargain down to misdemeanours, sentence waived due to illness.
    Gee I bet she's quaking in her boots.
    I wonder if the judge is now an HP shareholder.
    I bet she'll even pick up a pay-rise this year from HP.
    • So these people are allowed a free pass for insider trading, wire fraud, and probably bilking millions of dollars out of shareholders... ...and I'm looking at a $380 fine and a court ordered ban from a park for being there after 10 PM one night.

      Are they going to be banned from the boardroom?
      • by dbIII (701233)
        It sounds like a judge or prosecutor decided there is unlikely to be enough time before she dies to continue with the case or punishment. It happens all over the world with a lot of cases.
        • It's not really possible for me to feel sorry for a multimillionaire. I really don't care what the ailment is. If they're a multimillionaire they should've known better than to become caught up in illegal activities. If they're dumb enough to be caught, when they had the financial ability to step out and say "I can't agree to this", then they deserve every last hour of punishment we can give them. It's not like she would've become homeless for staying out of the mess to begin with.
          • by dbIII (701233)
            It's not about revenge, it's about protecting society. No legal punishment can trump a slow lingering death by cancer so revenge is irrelevant anyway.
            • It's not about revenge, it's about protecting society
              I'm still waiting to be financially protected from the 278 Enron executives who never saw the inside of a courtroom--and who still know how to use priveleged positions to milk profit from 401(k) and other pension plans and leave the rest of us in debt. How are we being protected from executives like Hurd and Dunn from continuing to abuse their position within major corporations?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:18PM (#18354283)
    I'd get a stiffer penalty for jaywalking

    These assholes get away clean, with no criminal records and not a day in jail. Wanna bet what would happen to you or I if we got caught doing the same thing?
    • Must be nice to be rich
      Actually, it's probably more a perq that comes with being terminally ill [wikipedia.org]. Having late stage metastatic cancer probably means that she'll be dead within the year. Juries have a habit of finding weakened, dying women to be rather sympathetic defendants.
  • ah (Score:2, Insightful)

    Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service; in Dunn's case this sentence is likely to be waived due to illness.
     
    Ah, the system works....oh wait no it doesnt.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Her three co-defendants are expected to receive 96 hours of community service

      I did more of that for a scout badge! And yes, it was phrased exactly that way and working with the same organisations, which is why I found it amusing at the time.

  • Well well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GFree (853379) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:29PM (#18354443)
    The fact that your regular folk would have been F'd in the A for something like this while the corporate suits get off pretty lightly, is yet another reason why it's called the legal system as opposed to the justice system.
    • Whining about how the rich and powerful have it easy in the /. echo chamber is the easiest thing to do. It makes you and the moderators feel better too.

      Meanwhile, it's our economy (that means your economic prosperity in comparison to others in the world) that is ultimately harmed when investors all over the globe invest their funds in more transparent markets.

      Here in California we voted _lots_ of harsh penalties for violent and drug-related crimes. Who says we can't do the same for white collar crimes?

      Oh
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:30PM (#18354457)
    The current bottom of the page tagline is rather amusing...

      "Some men rob you with a six-gun -- others with a fountain pen. -- Woodie Guthrie"
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:35PM (#18354519) Journal
    I read an interesting article in the New Yorker about this whole fiasco. The underlying theme was that lots of people were responsible for the disaster, but none of them actually realized what was going on. Dunn and Hurd, in particular, repeatedly asked both legal counsel and the people doing the problematic projects whether it was legal. I believe TNY cited evidence of five separate written requests for assessment of legality from Dunn alone, and every one of them came back with repeated assurances that everything was legal, these were routine operations, and there was no problem.
    The other point of the article was that Dunn and Hurd both had access to the same material, both helped decide what needed to be done, and directed what was going on, but at the end of the day, Dunn lost her job and was charged with multiple felonies, while Hurd is now running the company.
    • by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:43PM (#18354639) Homepage Journal

      of people were responsible for the disaster, but none of them actually realized what was going on
      They should be guilty of perjury as well. There's a difference between "I don't remember what happened" and "I don't know what happened." They darn sure as heck knew what was going on.

      every one of them came back with repeated assurances that everything was legal, these were routine operations, and there was no problem
      There's something wrong if people in Dunn and Hurd's positions aren't able to identify a yes-man or an outright liar. How much were they being paid? The more likely explanation is that they asked only for the purpose of creating an auditable paper trail to try and cover their behinds if the scam was every exposed.

      Dunn lost her job and was charged with multiple felonies, while Hurd is now running the company
      Every scam creates a scapegoat when busted.
      • >There's a difference between "I don't remember what happened" and "I don't know what happened." They darn sure as heck knew what was going on.

        Obviously I don't *know* what was actually happening, but the writer's claim was that, yes, they knew exactly what was going on, were sufficiently worried about its legality to spend time researching it, and in the end, were repeatedly reassured by people who were more expert than they, that it was legal.

        >There's something wrong if people in Dunn and Hurd's pos
        • reassured by people who were more expert than they

          If I wouldn't believe it then why would I believe that someone making exponentially more than I would believe it? They were in positions where they were being paid not to be suckered by-fast talkers--and their defense is that they were suckered by fast-talkers?

          A manager who goes and verifies every little decision

          This isn't about micromanaging. These were executive level decisions.

          having gone to some lengths to investigate whether they were actually illegal

          It's my opinion that they went to lengths to make it look like they went to lengths because they already knew that what they were doing was illegal.

          It'd be naive to think that t

          • >This isn't about micromanaging. These were executive level decisions.

            But it *is*. Managing: "make this happen." Micromanaging: "do it this way."

            You'd have to be dumb to not consider that things might go awry, and have a contingency plan in case they DO go wrong. They're not dumb. I'm sure they had a backup plan, and it's very possible what we're seeing is exactly that. But at some point, second-guessing becomes tautologic: if a person is guilty because there's clear evidence, but also guilty becaus
            • You'd have to be dumb to not consider that things might go awry

              They were dumb to expect that the wiretapping they were engaging in wasn't illegal. How much were they being paid to know better? (This reasoning applies to the recent federal government wiretap scandal as well)

              what evidence is sufficient to exonerate the person

              There is no exoneration for people in their position. They simply cannot make a plausible claim of innocence or naivete when their corporate position and yearly income require them to be shrewd and experienced.

              I think those repercussions should be shared among a lot more people

              Very true. This is further evidence of a scam. In the original filing against Enron

              • The government has guns, and apparently sufficient approval that they can seemingly get away with anything they want (which is a damn shame.) I have to wonder if perceived governmental laxity was part of what made people think it was okay to do something similar on a corporate realm.

                Part of this -- I was thinking about this on the way home from work -- is also that justice isn't smooth. When people do something borderline and get away with it, other people see that and do something just a little worse tha
        • - they asked their "Chief Ethics Officer" about the mess, wasn't that Hunsacker's title?, about the legality of it all.

          You don't ask a lawyer to explain what is ethical. You ask lawyers what's LEGAL, not what's ETHICAL.

    • You can shop around until you find one to tell you what you want to hear.

      They will cluck when you are caught, then offer to defend you.

      Then offer to defend you on appeal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mOdQuArK! (87332)
      As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse - except, apparently, if you're a rich, "upstanding" member of the community.

      If they were worried enough about the legality of their operation to check with legal, then they damn well _knew_ that they were walking a dangerous line.
      • As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse

        To simplify things and, in doing so, to complicate things, the Supreme Court disagrees with you in certain situations. For one, see Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192 (1991):

        willfullness ... requires the Government to prove that the defendant knew of this duty [i.e. the illegality of the action]

        For another, see Ratzlaf v. United States, 510 U.S. 135 (1994).

        "willfullness" ... require[s] ... a "purpose to disobey the law."

        The Model Penal Code also says

        there is s

      • I think they knew very well that they were walking a dangerous line, but they had a hard problem: to stop a leak. (They did need to stop the leak, I would argue, based on other stuff I've read, to ensure that their high-level planning wasn't also getting out. Carly Fiorino seems to have indicated that part of her departure was because of infighting because of leak issues.)
        What they were doing, discussing leaks and what problems they caused, with the other board members as a group and individually, wasn't
    • by swb (14022)
      I took the New Yorker article with a bit of a grain of salt. I think it went a little too far in accepting Patty's image of herself as a non-nonsense board member interested corporate governance buffeted between Carly haters and narcissistic venture capitalists.

      I'm also skeptical of the usual "but they told me it was OK" finger-pointing merry-go-round that seems to indicate that merely asking someone else's opinion of the ethics of an action clears you of responsibility. We get that from every corporate s
      • >I'm also skeptical of the usual "but they told me it was OK" finger-pointing merry-go-round that seems to indicate that merely asking someone else's opinion of the ethics of an action clears you of responsibility. We get that from every corporate scandal, when in reality its always a situation of them getting the answer they were looking for in the first place or yet another culture of don't-ask-don't-tell where results matter only slightly less than not getting caught.

        Not just corporate: look at the Ir
  • Everyone should tag it as inaccurate (or should that be "!accurate"). That's a tag I wish would catch on. Then they should auto-filter out all inaccurate and dupe articles from the default front page.
  • I'm I the only person who sees plea bargains as unjust?

    If someone did a crime, he deserves an appropriate penalty. If he did no crime, he deserves no penalty.

    Plea bargains say, we're kind of sure you did the time, but you can't afford the risk of a defense and/or the risk of being falsely convicted, and we'd rather not spend the money investigating / prosecuting to the point where we could convince a jury, so how about we split the difference?

    The result: the guilty go free, and the innocent pay a price. N
  • by bigbadbuccidaddy (160676) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @10:04PM (#18357311)
    Someone who commits a real crime gets off scott free due to illness, whereas,
    on the same day,
    in the same state,
    this http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=politics& id=5122773 [go.com] dying woman is loses her appeal,
    and is sent to prison for smoking dope.
    • This shows everything that is wrong with legal systems in the 'free' world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by owlstead (636356)
      I've read the article you pointed to, and it is made pretty clear she has not been prosecuted, arrested or imprissoned. She may not, according to the law, smoke dope legally, but the chances that she will be prosecuted are nill. Even the persons giving her the dope do not seem to have problems continuing to get the *medical* marihuana to her.

      In other words, your article purposefully mangles the fact and should be modded as troll. Currently I can only mod you one down, but I hope this response will get the
  • If you're guilty, but also have an life threatening illness then a judge can decide god has already punished you enough. No need for the legal system to do anything. Move along. You don't even have to plead guilty for your crimes.

    On the other hand, if you're guilty and have a really good lawyer, money, and run a large company you don't even need to be ill.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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