Category Archives: General

Constitutionality of Peremptorily Striking Jurors Who Support the Black Lives Matter Movement

By Matthew Caminiti

The appeal of a 2016 murder conviction in Contra Costa County Superior Court, California has brought front and center a new problem facing trial courts: the constitutionality of peremptorily striking jurors who indicate their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Continue reading Constitutionality of Peremptorily Striking Jurors Who Support the Black Lives Matter Movement

Destined for Demise?—The Fate of the Qualified Immunity Doctrine Remains Uncertain Amid Newest Federal and State Policing Reform Efforts

By Nicolette J. Zulli

Following weeks of protests ignited by the death of George Floyd, a storm of social media activism, and bipartisan calls for reforms to policing, the difficult issue of whether the legal doctrine of qualified immunity should survive has emerged onto the national center stage. Continue reading Destined for Demise?—The Fate of the Qualified Immunity Doctrine Remains Uncertain Amid Newest Federal and State Policing Reform Efforts

All’s Fair in Crime and Disgorgement: Supreme Court Upholds SEC’s Authority to Disgorge Ill-Gotten Gains with Limitations

By Mary P. Hansen and Nicolette J. Zulli

On June 22, 2020, the Supreme Court, in an 8 to 1 decision, held in Liu v. SEC that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) may seek “disgorgement” in federal court actions in amounts which do not exceed a wrongdoers’ net profits and are, if possible, ultimately returned to victims pursuant 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5), which authorizes the SEC to seek “equitable” relief.[1] Continue reading All’s Fair in Crime and Disgorgement: Supreme Court Upholds SEC’s Authority to Disgorge Ill-Gotten Gains with Limitations

Scaling the (Geo)Fence: New York Lawmakers Push to Outlaw Geofence Warrants amid Ongoing National Debate for Police Reform

In the wake of national protests against police brutality surrounding the death of George Floyd, and ongoing national debate for police reform, New York lawmakers have seized the opportunity to take a stand against law enforcement’s use of a controversial surveillance technique, known as the geofence warrant, or “reverse location search.” Continue reading Scaling the (Geo)Fence: New York Lawmakers Push to Outlaw Geofence Warrants amid Ongoing National Debate for Police Reform

Reality Television Personality Amongst First Prosecuted for PPP Fraud

It did not take long. On April 3, 2020, the Small Business Administration began accepting applications for companies to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). By early May, the first criminal charges began to roll in. The most attention-getting of these was filed against Maurice Fayne, better known as “Arkansas Mo” from the VH1 reality television show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.” On May 12, 2020, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia charged Fayne with one count of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, alleging that he defrauded United Community Bank in connection with a loan it issued under the PPP. This is among the first prosecutions arising in connection with a PPP loan. Continue reading Reality Television Personality Amongst First Prosecuted for PPP Fraud

COVID-19 Prompting Significant Action by State and Federal Prison Authorities

By Jovalin Dedaj

This past week, federal and state correctional facilities across the country have confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 infections among inmates and staff.  New York City’s primary jail, Riker’s Island, currently has the most confirmed cases, with 52 inmates and 30 employees testing positive.  As this blog and other outlets have reported, crowded conditions, limited access to healthcare, and a high-risk population mean those incarcerated are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Continue reading COVID-19 Prompting Significant Action by State and Federal Prison Authorities

U.S. Department of Justice Files Civil Complaint for COVID-19-Related Fraud

By Brett M. Feldman and Jessica Linse

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, law enforcement officials throughout the country have publicly committed to aggressively combatting pandemic-related fraud. Those pronouncements have translated into action focused, at least at this early stage, upon frauds which might impact consumers’ health and safety. The first federal civil enforcement action took place on Saturday, March 21, 2020. On that date, the U.S. Department of Justice, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, filed the first civil enforcement action against a COVID-19 related fraud. Prosecutors sought an injunction shutting down a website, which purportedly offered to provide “free” coronavirus “vaccine kits” for a $4.95 shipping and handling fee. This request for injunctive relief, which resulted in a temporary restraining order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1345, is likely an omen of more to come. Continue reading U.S. Department of Justice Files Civil Complaint for COVID-19-Related Fraud

BOP, State Prison Officials Release COVID-19 Guidance

By Jovalin Dedaj

Federal and state prison officials have started releasing their action plans in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The BOP and some states have suspended legal and/or social visits and inter-facility transfers for 30 days or more, among other changes in policy that we discussed last week.  The links below will direct you to the complete guidance issued by the BOP and various state prison authorities:

Continue reading BOP, State Prison Officials Release COVID-19 Guidance

Coronavirus Poses Unique Risk to U.S. Prison Population

By Jovalin Dedaj

As businesses and governments scramble to contain the coronavirus pandemic (“COVID-19”), one segment of society is uniquely vulnerable: the prison population.  Poor hygiene, limited medical resources, overcrowding, and prohibitions on over-the-counter medical supplies such as hand sanitizer make corrections facilities and immigration processing centers very susceptible to the disease.  It presents a serious threat to the prison system and could quickly escalate into a disaster if immediate steps are not taken.

Continue reading Coronavirus Poses Unique Risk to U.S. Prison Population