Sooner or later, nearly every white collar defense attorney will represent a witness subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury. It is well settled in most circuits that federal grand jury witnesses do not have a right to have defense counsel present during the grand jury proceedings – but how frequently may witnesses request a break in the grand jury proceedings to leave the room to consult with their lawyers about the questions being posed?
Quite frequently, it turns out. Many federal courts allow non-immunized grand jury witnesses to consult with their lawyers after each question posed. See U.S. v. Soto, 574 F.Supp. 986, 990 (D. Conn. 1983). Courts recognize that witnesses reasonably wish to consult with counsel to avoid, for example, providing testimony which may tend to incriminate them. While some courts may limit the frequency of consultation to every two or three questions, particularly if the breaks become too lengthy or disruptive, courts will typically honor requests for regular consultation unless the request appears “frivolous” or “with intent to frustrate the proceedings.” See In re Tierney, 465 F.2d 806, 810 (5th Cir. 1972). Continue reading “Sometimes, You CAN Always Get What You Want: Counseling Clients On Taking Breaks Before a Federal Grand Jury”
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”
The Honeycutt brothers run an operation selling iodine to methamphetamine dealers. One brother makes $269,000 in total profits. The other brother gets paid a weekly salary, but otherwise takes home nothing. They are both charged in a drug conspiracy. The first brother reaches a plea deal with the government, and as a result gets to keep most of the money he made. The second brother loses at trial. At his sentencing, the trial court orders the second brother to forfeit (i.e. give back to the government) an amount equal to the total $269,000 in profits – even though he never saw a dime. Continue reading “Supreme Court Hears Argument In Honeycutt”
The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a report on March 29, 2017, faulting the DOJ for failing to systematically evaluate its forfeiture data to determine the extent to which seizures benefit law enforcement efforts or present potential risks to civil liberties. While the Inspector General’s (“IG’s”) report specifically focused on the forfeiture activities of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), its conclusions may likely be extended to other arenas in which the federal government initiates civil forfeiture activities, including white collar crime. Continue reading “New Scrutiny of Civil Forfeiture Laws”