The state of California’s case against Hewlett-Packard executives, brought last year as a headline-grabbing prosecution of corporate malfeasance, ended with a whimper Wednesday when a judge agreed to dismiss charges against the former board chairwoman and refused to impose jail time on three others.

Ex-chairwoman Patricia Dunn, now battling a reoccurrence of ovarian cancer, declined to enter a plea Wednesday in Santa Clara County, Calif., Superior Court to a reduced misdemeanor charge of fraudulent wire communications. Judge Ray Cunningham then tossed out the case against Dunn, who resigned from Hewlett-Packard in September.

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