Monthly Archives: November 2015

Giving Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for: a wonderful husband, two great kids, a job I love. These are tumultuous times, no doubt. There are terrorist attacks in Paris. Presidential candidates lump innocent Syrian refugees with religious radicals. Political … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Acquittal of Defendant in Federal Program Bribery Case

In United States v. McLean, the Eleventh Circuit narrowed the government’s ability to convict defendants who are accused of public bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 666. This statute covers bribery related to programs that receive federal funds. After his conviction … Continue reading

Posted in Bribery, Federal program fraud, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What Is Grand Jury Secrecy?

Public access to criminal trials is a fundamental principle of our justice system. As the Supreme Court articulated in 1980: [Supreme Court precedent] recognized that open trials are bulwarks of our free and democratic government: public access to court proceedings … Continue reading

Posted in Grand jury | 1 Comment

Reports of the Death of Asset Forfeiture Were Greatly Exaggerated

Asset forfeiture was supposed to be in decline. The Washington Post published a series of troubling stories about the rising use of asset forfeiture–without warrants or criminal charges–to the tune of $2.5 billion dollars since 2001. Former Attorney General Eric … Continue reading

Posted in Civil forfeiture, Criminal Forfeiture | Leave a comment

The Impossible Standard to Change Venue–The Massey Mine Case Is Still in West Virginia

I’ve posted before about the upcoming criminal trial of Don Blankenship’s involvement in the Massey Mine disaster. The trial started on October 1 and is still going. It’s going to be a long one. Back in February, Mr. Blankenship filed … Continue reading

Posted in Change Venue, Jury issues | Tagged | 1 Comment

An Appeals Court Finally Takes a Practical Approach to Sentencing in Government Contracting Case (and an Interesting 4th Amendment Issue)

Loss calculation drives sentencing decisions in many white-collar cases. The higher the loss amount, the longer the sentence.Courts usually take an expansive view of what counts as a “loss” for sentencing. In a recent Third Circuit case, however, the court … Continue reading

Posted in Fourth Amendment, Government contracting fraud, Sentencing | Tagged | 2 Comments