Houston Community News >> Lay's Conviction Could be Erased

7/6/2006 Houston -- Ken Lay's death means Enron founder Kenneth Lay will never serve a day in jail. But could it also erase his conviction?

One legal expert thinks so. Roma Theus is a former federal prosecutor now with the Defense Research Institute. And the way he sees it, Lay's attorneys have a great opportunity to vacate his conviction.

Lay's appeal was pending when he died of heart disease yesterday. According to Theus, the law views that as if Lay had never been indicted, tried and convicted. The defense can now take the death certificate to the judge and ask that the conviction be vacated.

That would be bad news for prosecutors using the criminal courts to try to seize millions of dollars in Lay's assets. But Theus says other federal agencies, as well as burnt Enron shareholders, could still go after the estate in civil courts.

(Contributed by AP)