Courts Confront Clash Between Federal and State Marijuana Laws

The clash between state and federal law regarding the use of medical marijuana continues to present an ongoing dilemma for courts around the country, as illustrated by a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit. In the United States v. Schostag, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a decision by the District Court of Minnesota barring a felon from using state-legal medical marijuana while he is on supervised release.

To read the full text of this blog post, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry blog.

The Second Circuit Loosens The Reins On Insider Trading Prosecutions

By Jovalin Dedaj

After an intervening decision by the United States Supreme Court last year and a rare rehearing of oral argument in March, the Second Circuit has affirmed the conviction of Matthew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at S.A.C. Capital Advisors. In doing so, the Second Circuit has signaled a substantial shift in insider trading law by reversing course from its 2014 decision, which made prosecuting insider trading cases more difficult. Continue reading The Second Circuit Loosens The Reins On Insider Trading Prosecutions

Back to the Future (Part II) – The Expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture

By Michael E. Clark and Amanda L. Bassen

In yet another modification by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to Obama administration policies, on July 19, 2017, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions announced a policy reviving the criticized civil asset forfeiture practice that allows the DOJ to forfeit assets seized by state or local law enforcement.  The Attorney General’s order (the “Order”) authorizes the federal forfeiture of property seized under state law by state and local law enforcement agencies when alleged criminal conduct purportedly violates federal law (referred to by the DOJ as “federal adoption”).  The Order allows for the seizure of cash and other personal property from individuals suspected of crimes, but not yet convicted or charged.  Continue reading Back to the Future (Part II) – The Expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Back to the Future

By Michael E. Clark and Amanda L. Bassen

On May 12, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum, dated May 10, 2017 (the “Sessions Memorandum”), ordering stricter charging and sentencing policies to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in conducting federal prosecutions.  The Sessions Memorandum announced that the DOJ must charge and pursue “the most serious, readily provable” offenses.  Attorney General Sessions defined such offenses as those carrying the greatest sentence under the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”), including sentences carrying mandatory minimum terms of incarceration.  Continue reading Back to the Future

Reining in the SEC: The Supreme Court Limits Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations

By Mauro M. Wolfe and Jovalin Dedaj

In yet another setback for the SEC, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that disgorgement actions, a cornerstone of SEC enforcement, are subject to a five-year statute of limitations. Continue reading Reining in the SEC: The Supreme Court Limits Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations

Ninth Circuit Hands Defense an Important Brady Win

Defense attorneys in the Ninth Circuit are celebrating the appellate court’s recent decision in United States v. Liew for its explication of the Brady doctrine and its implicit recognition that sometimes FBI agents are not as forthcoming as they should be.  Continue reading Ninth Circuit Hands Defense an Important Brady Win

Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs

By Eric R. Breslin, Mauro M. Wolfe, and Jovalin Dedaj

In the last few weeks, the SEC and its administrative law judges (“ALJs”) have tested the truthfulness of the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

On May 3, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the SEC’s request to rehear a decision, in which the Court determined that the SEC’s administrative law judges were unconstitutional appointments. That decision was just another setback for the SEC in a high-stakes constitutional debate which could potentially put the issue of how the SEC appoints its ALJs before the Supreme Court. Later this month, much to the dismay of the SEC, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will rehear arguments in its decision, which initially held in favor of the SEC. Continue reading Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs

Melissa Geller Named A “New Leader of the Bar” by New Jersey Law Journal

Melissa GellerDuane Morris associate Melissa Geller has been named one of the New Jersey Law Journal‘s “New Leaders of the Bar.” With this list, the Law Journal “endeavors to identify attorneys representing the future of the legal profession in New Jersey.”

The honorees will be recognized at the Law Journal’s Professional Excellence event on June 20.

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General Issues Compliance Effectiveness Guide, which has Broad Implications for Health Care Compliance Programs

By Michael E. Clark and Amanda L. Bassen

On March 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) issued a 53-page resource guide on compliance program effectiveness, titled “Measuring Compliance Program Effectiveness: A Resource Guide” (“Compliance Guide”). The Compliance Guide is broken into seven compliance program elements, each containing numerous suggestions on how and what to measure with respect to each element. The OIG explained that its purpose in issuing the Compliance Guide was to provide health care organizations with as many ideas as possible for measuring the elements of their compliance programs, which would allow any type of health care organization to choose those that best suit its needs. The OIG cautions that the Compliance Guide should not be used as a “checklist” but rather be tailored to an organization’s particular needs in any given year.  Continue reading Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General Issues Compliance Effectiveness Guide, which has Broad Implications for Health Care Compliance Programs