Kaley v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: March 18, 2013
  • Case #: 12-464
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 677 F.3d 1316 (2012)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Fifth and Sixth Amendments entitle criminal defendants to a pre-trial adversarial hearing (in which they may challenge the evidentiary support of the underlying charges) on ex parte restraining orders which limit their ability to retain counsel of choice.

When Petitioners learned they were the subject of a grand jury investigation for transporting stolen medical devices, money laundering, and obstruction of justice, they obtained a home equity line of credit for $500,000, which they used to purchase a certificate of deposit (CD) with which to pay their defense attorneys. After Petitioners were indicted, the Government obtained an ex parte protective order restraining the defendants from transferring or disposing of enumerated property traceable to the offenses, which included the CD.

Petitioners moved to vacate the protective order, contending it violated their Sixth Amendment right to retain counsel of their choice. A magistrate denied their motion and a new indictment claimed their assets were “involved” in the commission of the indicted crimes. The magistrate agreed and amended the protective order to include the CD and residence while denying the defendants’ motion to vacate the order and hold a pretrial, post-restraint evidentiary hearing.

Petitioners appealed and the district court affirmed the magistrate’s orders. Petitioners filed an interlocutory appeal and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded to determine whether a pretrial, post-restraint hearing was required.

On remand, the district court found Petitioners were entitled to a pretrial post-restraint hearing but were only entitled to contest “traceability” of the assets contained in the protective order and that Petitioners could not challenge the underlying indictment itself at a pretrial hearing. Since Petitioners did not contest “traceability,” their motion to vacate the protective order was denied. Petitioners second interlocutory appeal was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

On appeal, Petitioners argue the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit wrongly relied on its own opinion in United States v. Bissell, 866 F.2d 1343 (CA11 1989) instead of the Supreme Court’s decision in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976) that due process requires criminal defendants to have “the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.”

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve the issue left open by United States v. Monsanto, 491 U.S. 600 (1989) regarding whether the Fifth and Sixth Amendments require a pretrial, adversarial hearing before a pretrial restraining order may be imposed.

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