Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tuesday news & notes

1.  John Pacenti covers the Kaley case going to the Supreme Court:

On the 50th anniversary of its landmark Gideon ruling giving all criminal defendants access to a lawyer, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted a South Florida case asking whether defendants are entitled to hire the counsel of their choice when federal prosecutors freeze their assets before trial.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the 1963 case of Clarence Gideon, who received a five-year sentence for a pool room theft in Panama City, that state courts are required to provide free representation to indigent defendants under the 14th Amendment. The decision caused the release of 2,000 Florida prisoners.
Fifty years later, the high court agreed to decide whether the federal government can freeze a defendant's assets before trial without an evidentiary hearing.
"Gideon couldn't afford a lawyer, so the government said he had to go to trial without the court appointing one for him," said attorney Howard Srebnick. "Fifty years later, the federal government is now arguing that because court-appointed lawyers are available to indigent defendants, the government can restrain assets needed for counsel of choice without first having to prove to a judge that the government has the evidence and legal authority to justify the restraint."
Srebnick is the partner at Miami criminal defense firm Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf. He has teamed up with Miami appellate attorney Richard Strafer in leading the charge for Kerri and Brian Kaley. ( Read Petition for Cert. Read brief.)

2.  Fane Lozman wins again, this time in the 11th Circuit:

 Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court handed Fane Lozman a huge victory in his long-running legal battle with Riviera Beach, another court on Monday paved the way for the fervent activist to seek millions from the city for his troubles.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a 2008 lawsuit Lozman filed against the city, claiming it repeatedly violated his civil rights by hiring a private investigator to trail him, kicking him out of public meetings and, at one point, having him arrested when he refused to leave.
“Today felt just a tad lower than winning at the Supreme Court,” Lozman said shortly after the decision was announced. “The Supreme Court ruling was a 10. Today was a 9½.”
City officials didn’t return emails or phone calls for comment about their latest loss to the former Marine who became a thorn in their sides shortly after docking his unconventional floating home at the city marina in 2006. City hall was closed Monday as part of budget-cutting measures.
But, while the high court’s ruling may have stung more, the 11th Circuit’s could be more costly.
When the nation’s high court in January ruled that the city improperly used ancient maritime law to seize and ultimately destroy Lozman’s 60-foot two-story floating home, the possible damages were somewhat fixed. City officials were faced with the prospect of paying Lozman for the $167,000 he claims it would cost to replace his home, the $300,000 he spent for attorneys and an undetermined amount to reimburse him for the money he shelled out for living expenses after his home was destroyed.
However, he said, if he succeeds in proving that the city violated his constitutional rights, the damages could skyrocket.
“If I was the city, I’d be concerned,” he said. “That’s a seven-figure sum.”


Anonymous said...

5 AM post? Try to get some sleep.

Rumpole said...

The defense never rests.