The Kaleys', a couple out of Florida who resold medical devices in a gray market, are bringing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court for them to decide if the constitution allows federal prosecutors to seize or freeze a defendant's assets before the prosecution has shown that those assets were illegally obtained. Such frozen assets prevent a defendant from trial counsel of their choice to mount a vigorous defense.
Retired Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman, of Santa Clara, California, says that the issue being raised is a sixth amendment right to counsel. By not having a pre-seizure hearing, the Kaleys' are claiming they've been denied the opportunity to hire counsel of their choice and instead are getting a public defender.
The other issue being raised, says Hyman is what is going to be the standard of proof and if that standard of proof is met, would they get their assets back? These issues, however, are not going before the Supreme Court.
Hyman says that whenever a federal crime is alleged, the assets can be seized and it has to be related to ill-gotten gains. There is plenty of case law on this issue, stating that one is entitled to a competent attorney and beyond that, "there's not a constitutional entitlement," adds Hyman.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. For more information on the article in the Wall Street Journal, click here.