A panel of the Tenth Circuit today vacated the 72-month sentence Joseph P. Nacchio got for insider trading in the stock of Qwest Communications, where he served as CEO.  The court held that the district court added too many months to the prison hitch by overstating Mr. Nacchio's "gain" from exercising stock options in April and May 2001.  The gain consisted not of all the profit from selling the stock.  No.  It included only the amount that resulted from Mr. Nacchio's "deception" — as distinct from normal rise in the stock's price.  United States v. Nacchio, No. 07-1311 (10th Cir. July 31, 2009).

The en banc Tenth Circuit split 5-4 in February 2009 on Mr. Nacchio's conviction.  Judge Holmes, who wrote the new opinion, authored the en banc majority's, too.