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NCJ Number: 122159 Find in a Library
Title: Supreme Court Approves Seizure of Drug Money Earmarked for Defense Fund
Journal: State Peace Officers Journal  Volume:38  Issue:3  Dated:(1989)  Pages:28-30
Editor(s): L Pilant
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Two recent Supreme Court cases upheld pre-trial freezing and post-conviction forfeiture of assets that defendants intended to use to pay for counsel in Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) prosecutions.
Abstract: The impact of the Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984 was evident as the Court decided whether the law itself allows exemption of attorneys' fees from seizure and whether it infringes on the defendants' Fifth (due process) and Sixth Amendment (right to counsel) rights. In Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered v. United States, the Court held that the law did not immunize lawyers' fees from seizure; that the Sixth Amendment, while protecting one's right to choose counsel, does not go beyond the individual's right to spend his own money to obtain such counsel; and that, in this case, the forfeiture involved was not used to upset the balance of force between accuser and accused. In the second case, United States v. Monsanto, the Court held that the district court does not have discretion to exclude assets from its restraining order for payment of attorneys' fees and that pre-conviction assets freezing was valid based on a finding of probable cause. The dissenters in both cases argued that allowing a defendant to use forfeited assets to pay a lawyer would not jeopardize the government's interests, that attorneys' fee forfeiture would destroy the judicial adversary system, and that the government cannot claim title to defendants' property from the time of commission of their crime.
Main Term(s): Forfeiture law; Legal fees
Index Term(s): Right to counsel; Right to Due Process; US Supreme Court
Note: Reprinted from the Narcotics Control Technical Assistance Program Newsletter, V 3, N 2.
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