msnbc.com
updated 5/25/2006 4:31:11 PM ET 2006-05-25T20:31:11

Readers reacted quickly and virtually unanimously in their reaction to the conviction of Enron defendants Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling on Thursday.

Aside from agreeing with the jury, many also saw larger implications: restored faith in the judicial system and hope that corporate America would take notice. More than a few had suggestions for their punishment.


And a few questioned the propriety of their sentencing date: Sept. 11.

CRASS DATE
A sentencing date of 9/11 is either crass or a deliberate move to bury the story. Given the emotional mood of the country on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, perhaps the powers that be hope Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling could get a light or suspended sentence and it would go unnoticed. – Elizabeth, Mass.

TAKE THE MONEY
I can only hope that as part of their sentences they are required to hand over all of their monetary assets to the thousands of employees who lost their pensions. They should be penniless after their sentencing. – Dennis, Calif.

A GOOD START
The verdicts are a good start in the process of cleaning up corporate America. – William, Conn.

SLAP ON THE WRIST
Both Lay and Skilling are guilty. However, they will only get a slap on the wrist. Both will walk away with millions. As Skilling stated: "That's the way the system works." – Bill, Idaho

REGULAR PRISON
In an era when so many of the rich and powerful see themselves as above the law, this is a very refreshing outcome. Now if they will just put them in a regular federal prison with the rest of the thieves, justice will have truly prevailed. – Allan, Ga.

SHOULD HAVE KNOWN
Just glad to see that highly overcompensated executives are being held accountable for the companies they run. What this verdict says is that if Lay and Skilling didn't know about the problems, they should have. – Bill, Iowa

SWING BACK
It's encouraging to see that the pendulum may be swinging back, that sociopathic greed may actually be checked by public outrage. It's reassuring to find that there are still those who will prosecute and vote to convict in response to such behavior. – Doyle, Tex.

CAN’T BUY JUSTICE
It appears the court system has finally found that money does not make one not guilty. Unfortunately they both will probably spend the next 10 years as free men awaiting court proceedings and their appeal. – Jerry, NY

COMPANIES, TAKE NOTICE
I think that it is fantastic that these two criminals will rot in prison for bilking their own hardworking employees out of their life savings. Hopefully, other companies will take note. – Erik, Fla.

APPEAL AFTER APPEAL
Unfortunately, they'll stay out of prison pending appeal after appeal after appeal, costing taxpayers millions more! – Bob, Neb.

RENEWED FAITH
These two small decisions renew my sometimes skeptical faith in the U.S. justice system. These two individuals conspired to precipitate fraud upon Wall Street and individual investors. Their fortune allowed them to hire high-priced attorneys, but that was not enough to escape justice. They are liars and crooks and deserve each day they will spend locked up – Greg, Mo.

HARSHEST SENTENCES
I think that both men should receive the harshest possible sentences and serve them in regular maximum-security prisons. I am sick and tired of seeing the rich and powerful rip off thousands of innocent people and walk away with untold billions only to get a slap on the wrist and fine. A guy robs a 7-Eleven of $26 goes to a maximum security prison for 30 years. The former are big-time gangsters and a far greater threat to society. So stick them in a cell with a murderer for 30 years and perhaps the next Ken Lay will think twice before robbing little old ladies of their pensions! – Joseph, Va.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG
My guess is that the Enron debacle is just the tip of a gigantic iceberg that could one day sink the U.S. economy. Lay and Skilling didn't invent their fraudulent ways, they were simply doing what "the system" requires these days. As long as top executives' pay (and $400 million retirement packages) are tied to "company performance" we're going to keep seeing Enrons. What's the alternative? Beats me, but maybe independent shareholder-elected representatives on all company boards would be a start. Term limits might curb corruption, but with all that big money flying around, corruption seems inevitable. – Ian, Nev.

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