msnbc.com
updated 6/28/2005 6:41:17 PM ET 2005-06-28T22:41:17

Jurors acquitted HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy on Tuesday of all charges in a surprise setback for federal prosecutors who had scored victories over a string of big-name CEOs accused of fraud. The verdict sparked considerable reaction from readers. Here are some of the more thoughtful responses we got. Some e-mails have been edited for length and style.

"Now that the HealthSouth verdict is in, there will be a large influx of articles about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. I don't know whether (HealthSouth's former) CEO was guilty or not. However, I do know that Sarbanes-Oxley is not the solution and I do know that companies are spending hundreds of millions trying to comply with S-O (a Band Aid on a hemorrhage) and millions on defense of folks like HealthSouth's (former) CEO. Bottom-line, lawyers making more, S-O consultants making more, and shareholders making less! There is a better way!" -- Robert S., St. Louis, Miss.

"Wow. One can only wonder if (former Enron CEO) Ken Lay will walk! While (Sarbanes-Oxley) is not perfect, it should remain in place until something better replaces it. It's there to prevent the abuse of power exercised by those like Scrushy, Lay, Kozlowski, Ebbers, etc. But after today you've got to wonder how effective a deterrent it truly is." – JS, Plano, Tx.

"It's amazing to me that a CEO running a multi-million dollar company can claim that he doesn't know what his executives are doing and for that matter claim to know nothing about the day to day business. So why was he paid the huge salary and perks? -- Karin H., Henderson, NV.

"It is a slap in the face to read this article. I blame all of this on Republicans for the decline in our standards. We became the nation that the world looked up to under a socialist by the name of Roosevelt. I know that day is again approaching, as the polls show how angry Americans are to see that they put their trust in the Republicans and see what they do." -- Jack

"It may be that a knee-jerk reaction to someone who makes lots of money where someone else loses doesn't make a crime!" -- Ed M., Everett, Mass.

"This is the problem, not the law: "The government’s proof is inadequate," said (U.S. District Judge Karon) Bowdre, saying she would have to throw out the verdict even if jurors convicted Scrushy of the crime.' The jury should decide the outcome not the judge. This is the case in any trial. People are not allowed to make up there own minds but rather are directed as to what information can be considered and what cannot. So as down through history there are two classes of people those with money and power and those without. We in this country feel it's sufficient to allow a CEO when caught to retire. That’s his so-called punishment which includes all the retirement perks. This type of deceit by the very person who runs the company is appalling. Does this judge have a permanent job for life? Probably. Like the Supreme Court justices. What a joke! I must say that the American public gets what it deserves. Conformity and complacency the two biggest enemies in America. -- Jim B.

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