Updated from 6:59 a.m. EST

Now for the Martha Stewart hangover, in which Wall Street goes soul searching over how a $240,000 stock trade ended up sending one of the most famous women in the country to prison.

In theory, the relative triviality of the sum will force executives considering even the tiniest of malfeasance to think twice about its consequences, restoring a semblance of justice to a corporate landscape that looked woefully out of balance when Frank Quattrone's trial ended in a hung jury. Stewart's conviction is a "victory for the little guys," as one juror put it; a lesson to the rich and powerful.

How badly was that lesson needed? Stock traders thought she'd walk for sure, as evidenced by the nearly 20% run-up in Stewart's shares just prior to Friday afternoon's verdict. (They were recently changing hands for $9.50 on the Instinet premarket session, down $1.36, or 12.5% from their Friday close. To see a story about the future of the stock, click here .) The furious bidding reflected a belief among speculators that the deliberations' brevity signaled acquittal, that the case's complexity had made it too hard for amateurs to judge resolutely.

What it in fact signaled, of course, was how little the eight women and four men of the jury struggled with their verdict. They found Stewart arrogant, and felt she acted like she "held herself above (the law)," in juror Chappel Hartridge's words. It was no leap for these jurors to hold Stewart accountable in their world for behaving like she lived somewhere else.

"It might give the average guy a little bit more confidence feeling that, 'I can invest my money in the market and it might be on the up and up,' " said Hartridge.

Putting aside the issue of whether sexism was involved in Stewart's prosecution, the conviction should strike fear into the Ebbers, Rigases and Skillings of the world, executives who by any measure are alleged to have perpetrated frauds of vastly greater moment than hers.

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