Supreme Court to consider when assets can be frozen pre-trial

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:31am EDT

People walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

People walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington May 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider in what circumstances the assets of a defendant can be frozen before trial.

The question before the high court is whether prosecutors can prevent defendants from using their assets to pay for a lawyer without a hearing on the issue.

The case concerns Kerri Kaley, a sales representative for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc, who was indicted by federal prosecutors in Florida for reselling certain medical devices, including sutures, that she obtained from hospitals to which she had previously sold the same products.

Kaley and her husband Brian were both indicted in February 2007 on seven counts. Prior to the trial federal prosecutors sought to seize their assets.

The case will be argued and decided in the court's next term, which starts in October and runs until June 2014.

The case is Kaley v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-464.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Alden Bentley)

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Comments (1)
FatherJames wrote:
…There needs to be a judge in the loop. Allowing the prosecution to freeze funds at will is imposing punishment before trial. Yes, there are circumstances where if funds not frozen, they will vanish into foreign banks… Thus a judge can issue an order limiting access to a certain amount.

…Let’s say that you owned a fine dining spot, and a prosecutor decided to prosecute you for “money laundering…” well… no better way to ruin you than to freeze your assets. No better way to get a “slam-dunk” conviction than to force you into the hands of a public defender.

…*Most* of the people that are convicted in this country are in fact guilty… but not all. If you found your assets frozen without a court order you might well wonder what ever happened to Justice in this country.

Mar 18, 2013 1:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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