ARTHUR ANDERSEN LLP v. UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
No. 04-368.Argued April 27, 2005--Decided May 31, 2005
As Enron Corporation's financial difficulties became public, petitioner, Enron's auditor, instructed its employees to destroy documents pursuant to its document retention policy. Petitioner was indicted under 18 U. S. C. §§1512(b)(2)(A) and (B), which make it a crime to "knowingly ... corruptly persuad[e] another person ... with intent to ... cause" that person to "withhold" documents from, or "alter" documents for use in, an "official proceeding." The jury returned a guilty verdict, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that the District Court's jury instructions properly conveyed the meaning of "corruptly persuades" and "official proceeding" in §1512(b); that the jury need not find any consciousness of wrongdoing in order to convict; and that there was no reversible error.
Held: The jury instructions failed to convey properly the elements of a "corrup[t] persuas[ion]" conviction under §1512(b). Pp. 6-12.