Miami Frozen Assets Attorney
Freezing Assets After Arrest and Before Trial
Most Americans believe that, should they find themselves in need, they can retain the professional services of a criminal defense attorney of their choosing. If you have the funds to hire a lawyer when you are indicted in federal court, you usually can choose your lawyer. (If you have been appointed a public defender, you don’t get to choose which assistant public defender will defend you.)
Unfortunately, federal criminal law permits the prosecutor to secretly ask a district judge to restrain or freeze a defendant’s assets after an arrest and, believe it or not, before trial.
How can that be? Don’t we have a presumption of innocence in our country? If so, how can the government take assets that can be used to hire an attorney when a person is presumed innocent? And, how then can a person retain an attorney to represent them in their case if they don’t have access to their money?
A federal statute, Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 8539(e), specifically permits a federal district court judge to freeze or “restrain” assets that are potentially subject to being forfeited after conviction, pre-trial. Unfair? Certainly! It is just another example of how unfair the federal criminal justice system is and how it almost always favors the prosecution at the expense of the accused.
So, you may be thinking that a judge will be fair if your lawyer asks that your assets be released before your trial. You would be wrong since in many federal circuits, a criminal defendant is not even entitled to a hearing to release the assets before trial!
One would think that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment would prevent such an unjust situation. But, knowing that most federal judges favor the government, legal decisions allowing such unfairness is not uncommon or unexpected.
The severe hardship that an accused person (and his or her family) faces when not able to retain counsel of their choice to defend them seems not to be a concern of most federal judges.
The United States Supreme Court will hear argument on this issue this term. Hopefully, a majority of the justices will vote to stop this most inequitable situation, which is occurring more frequently these days. It is difficult enough for an individual to defend himself against the government; the government doesn’t deserve even more of an unfair advantage.
Contact Our Experienced Miami Frozen Assets Attorney
Don’t give up. A respected and persuasive criminal defense lawyer can often be effective in getting assets released. Call me if I can be of assistance to you. 305-670-9919.