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Sympathy for Reyes

It was another bad day in court for former Brocade CEO Greg Reyes. (See Reyes Found Guilty of Fraud.) Yesterday, a judge turned down his lawyers' request for acquittal, rejecting arguments that there was insufficient evidence to convict him in his recent criminal trial. (See Reyes Charged With Fraud, Brocade Being Investigated, Feds Made Mistake, Backdating Backlash, and Judge Hangs Fire on Reyes Case.)

Reyes' case may be a landmark in the government's attempts to stamp out options backdating, although many Byte and Switch readers are uneasy about whether Reyes' eventual punishment will actually fit his crime. (See Reyes Going Down.)

In our recent poll, only 42 percent of more than 200 respondents felt Reyes' conviction was entirely justified. A slightly higher percentage (44 percent) felt that, although Reyes is in the wrong, the maximum sentence of 20 years would be an overreaction.

Clearly, Reyes has been made an example of, as far as our readers are concerned. Eighty-seven percent of those taking part in the survey agreed that options backdating was pretty common or even universal until recently, although high-profile cases such as this one have put an end to the practice.

Given these factors, Byte and Switch readers think Reyes deserves some leniency when he is finally sentenced on November 21. Only a quarter of respondents agreed that the judge should throw the book at him, compared to 42 percent who think that "a bit of jail time and a fine" will be sufficient.

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