Dilworth Paxson Partner Linda Dale Hoffa Provides Update on Federal Forfeiture

04/03/2017

Honeycutt v. United States  

On March 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court heard argument in an important criminal forfeiture case that presents the Court with the opportunity to rein in excessive law enforcement tactics that have come under recent public and media criticism for over-reaching by law enforcement. 

In Honeycutt v. United States, the Supreme Court will decide the question whether there is statutory authority to hold criminal defendants jointly and severally liable for forfeiture of criminal proceeds. That means one defendant – even with a smaller role in the criminal conduct – may be equally responsible for forfeiture as those defendants who are more criminally culpable. All but one circuit court has permitted forfeiture under a joint and several liability theory, provided that the criminal proceeds were foreseeable to the defendant and the defendant's role in the offense was not so insignificant that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause would be triggered. The DC Circuit, on the other hand, has held that there is no statutory authority whatsoever for joint and several liability under any circumstances. 

From the oral argument presented and questions asked by the Court, it is unclear which way the Court will rule. Rest assured that this case will be closely watched by criminal law practitioners as it could show how far a reach the Supreme Court will allow law enforcement in forfeiture matters going forward.

 Linda Dale Hoffa

Partner; Chair, White Collar/Corporate Investigations Group – Dilworth Paxson LLP

Search Tips

Our Web site's search function employs a variety of techniques to help you make the most of your queries. In this tips section we use square brackets [ ] to signal queries, so [antitrust and litigation] is one query, while [antitrust] and [litigation] are two.

  • Exact phrases: Eliminate unnecessary search results by surrounding your search phrase with quotation marks. Placing ["project finance"] in quotes will return specific results and discard additional results that simply have the words "project" and "finance" peppered on a page.
  • Wildcard symbol: If you're not exactly sure how a piece of information you want is phrased, use the following symbol (*) as a word root expander. A search for [child*] will find not only "child," but also results with words like "children" and "childhood."

Related Lawyers

Related Industries

Related Practices

Related Offices

Media Contact

Files

Links