Virginia: Special Cases – a Lawyer’s Governor

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On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States of America vacated and remanded in McDonnell v. United States, No. 15-474, Slip Op., 579 U.S. ___ (Sep. 27, 2016). Writing for a unanimous Court, the Chief Justice overturned the criminal convictions of Virginia’s former Governor.

In McDonnell, the United States Supreme Court agreed that the pivotal definition of “official act” in the jury instructions was erroneous.  However, McDonnell did not accept the petitioners’ two additional claims of error.

First, McDonnell rejected that the honest services statute and the Hobbs Act are unconstitutionally vague, and declined to invalidate them on the case facts, given the Supreme Court’s interpretation of “official act”.  Second, McDonnell remanded to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to resolve whether as claimed there was insufficient evidence as a matter of law to find that an “official act” was committed or even agreed to be committed.