Category: Federal Criminal Law

November 16, 2011

High Court Hears Argument in GPS Fourth Amendment Case

In August 2010, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that if police wish to attach a GPS device to a criminal suspect’s car without a warrant, they first need to go to a judge and obtain a warrant based on probable cause. The act of attaching such… Read More

November 14, 2011

Judge Imposes 15-Year Sentence in FCPA Case; Appeal to Follow

A U.S. district judge in the Southern District of Florida recently sentenced Joel Esquenazi, the former president of Terra Telecommunications Corporation, to 15 years in prison – the longest prison term ever handed down in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecution. Previously, the longest sentence ever handed down for an FCPA conviction was just… Read More

October 27, 2011

House Panel Hears Arguments in Favor of Legal Online Poker

On Oct. 25, 2011, the possibility of legal online poker in the United States was aired before the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade at a hearing entitled “Internet Gaming: Is There a Safe Bet?” The hearing was convened to discuss the “Internet Gambling, Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening… Read More

October 12, 2011

Judge Awards $1.7 Million to Defendant in EPA Malicious Prosecution Case

On September 30, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ordered the United States to pay $1.7 million in a malicious prosecution lawsuit to Hubert Vidrine, based on findings that the U.S. government had maliciously prosecuted Vidrine for alleged environmental crimes. This is a rare ruling by a federal court requiring… Read More

September 1, 2011

DOJ Dismisses Genocide Charges After Failure to Make Disclosure to Defense

We have written previously about the number of times in which federal prosecutors seem to withhold crucial evidence from defendants — evidence that they are required under law to turn over. Here, for example, is a discussion of an important Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case in which this occurred. A genocide case in Kansas poses a… Read More

August 17, 2011

Judge Delivers Rebuke to Prosecutors in Sentencing NSA Official

The recent sentencing of a government intelligence official saw a dramatic and unusual rebuke of the U.S. Department of Justice by a federal judge. Four years after searching the home of National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, who was suspected of illegally leaking classified information to a reporter, and more than year after actually indicting… Read More

August 10, 2011

No Reason for Congress to Tinker With Federal Criminal Law

Sometimes even the United States Congress does not know when to leave well enough alone. Despite the growing sentiment that the federal government has overextended the reach of federal criminal law, both the House of Representatives and the  Senate are considering legislation that would expand the ability of federal prosecutors to bring public corruption cases… Read More

July 28, 2011

Senators’ Letter to Holder Shows Doubts about DOJ Gambling Stance

On July 14, 2011, Sen. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to clarify its position regarding enforcement of online gambling laws. The tone of the letter suggests that Sen. Reid, who has been a supporter… Read More

July 25, 2011

Court: Prosecutors Need to Probe Witness’s Veracity When Challenged

On June 17, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled in United States v. Freeman that federal prosecutors in criminal cases have an affirmative duty to investigate the viability of a defense challenge regarding whether a cooperating witness could be lying on the stand. This requirement, as expressed in this new… Read More

July 20, 2011

Journalist Challenges DOJ Subpoena, Claims Reporter’s Privilege

James Risen, an investigative journalist for The New York Times, is currently challenging a subpoena issued by the U.S. Department of Justice seeking testimony from him against a CIA agent accused of leaking classified information. The subpoena highlights a trend in which the government attempts to use journalists’ testimony against government employees who reveal information… Read More