Speak Outs
Speak Out
Can the government freeze a defendant’s assets before a trial?

December 11, 2013

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Breaking:
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the United States. The majority said that defendants whose assets have been frozen because of suspicion of illegal activity do not have a right to a hearing to access their money to pay for private attorneys.

***


We’ve seen it in the movies: An international drug smuggler gets nabbed by the FBI and then the prosecutor announces the suspect’s assets have been frozen.

Seems like a logical step in the legal process – freeze all the suspected criminal’s property and money so he can’t flee the country. But is it constitutional?

That question is at the heart of a case that was argued before the Supreme Court in October. Kaley v. United States asks whether the federal government can freeze a defendant’s money without letting the defendant challenge the indictment. When a grand jury indicts an individual after hearing evidence, that means it found probable cause for charges to be brought.

In 2005, Kerri Kaley was a sales representative for a medical device company. She and her husband, Brian, were charged with selling stolen medical devices. She says she was legally allowed to resell medical equipment that hospitals were throwing out. The resale brought the Kaleys to the attention of a federal grand jury. The Kaleys put aside $500,000 to pay for lawyers if they were indicted.

In 2007, the grand jury indicted the Kaleys on charges of money laundering and other offenses. Prosecutors acted to freeze the couple’s assets, including the money set aside for legal fees. The decision was made without letting the Kaleys challenge their indictment. The government used the indictment as the basis for freezing the Kaleys’ assets, which the Kaleys said prevented them from hiring the lawyers they wanted.

The Kaleys argued that when the court froze their assets without a pretrial hearing, their Sixth Amendment rights to counsel and a fair trial were denied. They asked the Supreme Court to decide if the Constitution says defendants have a right to challenge their indictment before the government freezes their assets. The Supreme Court has not set rules for whether such hearings are required and what tests should be applied.

On the government’s side, Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben said that “for over two hundred years, the grand jury’s determination of probable cause is conclusive” and that requiring a hearing on pretrial asset freezes would force a judge to second-guess the grand jury that issued the indictment. He also said that freezing assets before a trial was necessary so they can be used to pay restitution for victims of white-collar crimes if the defendant is convicted.

What do you think?

Are defendants entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen? Does freezing a defendant’s assets before a trial counter the principle of innocent until proven guilty? Does seizing a person’s assets infringe on the right to counsel? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
Join the Discussion
 
 
 
limited to 2000 characters including spaces  



Thank you for commenting.
Your comment is awaiting approval.
Click here to view all Speak Outs
Comments
1/20/2014
Irving/Texas
Cyndel
Bradley/Nimitz
Defendants should be entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen.These actions counteracts the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.”The defendant should have the opportunity to have the money to find a “suitable” lawyer that can represent him in the way the defendant believes they should be represented.Freezing the assets of a person being charged not only affect that person ,but also the family and defendants who need that “innocent or guilty” member.

1/19/2014
Irving/Tx
Jordan B.
Bradley/Nimitz
When freezing someones assets before they are proven guilty is NOT fair at all! You are stripping the defendant(s) constitutional right to a fair trial. If the court wants to have a trial to see if they can freeze their assets, it needs to be done, and they need to be proven guilty before anything happens. Without taking this step, the government is violating the constitution.

1/18/2014
Irving, Texas
Jacob F
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that it should be okay for defendant's/defendants' assets o be frozen as it would secure that the defendant would have lower chance of being able to flee to avoid punishment, but I believe there should be a limit. I suppose that the limit could be determined based on the scale of the crime: the higher the crime, the higher the amount frozen. However, I believe that assets should be accessible to hire a better lawyer if one can afford it. You have to think of extreme cases. Suppose a serial killer had targeted and killed someone you know. Would you want them to access their assets and possibly flee the state or country and never be found, or would you rather limit their ability to flee by freezing their assets? I do not believe that freezing assets goes against "innocent until proven guilty" because assets don't typically influence whether or not someone is guilty. I just believe there would be more suspicion toward someone who tries to access their assets when in trial than there would for someone who doesn't try to access them.

1/17/2014
Irving/TX
Edward H.
Bradley/Nimitz
In my opinion, I think the defendant(s) should be entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assests are frozen. Even though the government might find them suspicious of laundering or if they think these people are 100% guilty, they still have to go on the bases of "innocent until proven guilty.'' Yes it absolutely does, the defendant, whether guilty or not, should be able to defend themselves by buying the best lawyer their money can buy. But, it could really infringe on the right to counsel.

1/17/2014
Irving/Tx
Hannah W.
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that the defendants shouldn't be allowed to have a hearing before the trial, only because if they are guilty of whatever crimes that they are being persecuted for they could try and make it to where they are able to be bailed out of jail with what ever money that they may have saved up. This could be very dangerous to the case that is going on at the time. But at the same time it definitely might counter the aspect of innocent until proven guilty.

1/17/2014
Irving/Tx
Pedro
Bradley/Nimitz
Defendants should be entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen. In freezing a defendants assets before a trial counter , the principle of innocent until proven guilty is countered. The defendants should be able to use all they have to hire the best possible lawyers to be proven innocent. By taking that away, the defendants are practically declared guilty since they can't use their resources to be proven innocent. However, seizing a person's assets do not infringe on the right to counsel since lawyers are provided if one can't be afforded.

1/17/2014
Irving/Tx
Alonzo
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing a defendant's assets before trial counters the principle of innocent until proven guilty in every way and form. You can't charge someone with a crime until proven guilty so they shouldn't be able to freeze a defendant's assets especially before trial. As a right every defendant has the right to a trial as it says in amendment six In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. So the defended should be entitled to a hearing challenge before their assets being frozen. And I believe that seizing a persons assets does infringe on the right to council because of the money being wasted.

1/17/2014
Irving/TX
Brandon
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that defendants should not be entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen. Although by freezing a defendant’s assets, the government is violating the concept of innocent until proven guilty, the action is correct because the money in question will only be used to hire a very convincing lawyer. In addition, this action does not technically violate the sixth amendment, the right to counsel, as they will still get a lawyer. In conclusion, the defendant should not have the ability to challenge their indictment for all these reasons.

1/16/2014
Irving/Texas
Lyndsey
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing someone's assets is unconstitutional. Everyone has a right to a lawyer and freezing them takes that right away. Also they did not have a trial yet, so they are still innocent.

1/16/2014
Irving
Monica M. M.
Bradley/Nimitz
In the case of Kaley v. United States, they should have been given the chance to challenge their indictment. For one they were never charged with a specific verdict that made it all final. Yes there was evidence that led the jury members to find probable cause, however where is the opportunity of “innocent until proven guilty” for the Kaleys? The judge needs to realize this could lead to a true controversy and possibly even cause changes in verdicts of past similar cases. They should have been given the right to their money until proven guilty by receiving a hearing to challenge the indictment. It is their own earned property that can be put to use in the ways that they wish. No authority should be able to demand a rule like the freezing of one’s assets because the subjects have rights. It would be the same case if they were given their miranda rights but denied the option to choose their lawyer with what they can afford. It is all a violation of their right to counsel. Where in this case were the subjects given the opportunity seek further conclusion in their favor?

1/16/2014
Irving/TX
Yamilleth
Bradley/Nimitz
It should be unconstitutional for a defendants assets to be frozen before a trail counter. The forfeiture law allows the authorities to confiscate cash, cars, homes, or other property used for criminal activity but in recent cases like the Kaleys it has been abused, and to freeze a person's assets before a trial that the defendant hasn't even been convicted of yet does counter the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty'. When individuals are presumed innocent, they are prevented from using their assets not only to pay for counsel or bail, but to pay their basic living expenses. In most cases the law enforcers get to keep and use the money that they get by confiscating citizens' funds and property. Some of the money may go to the victims of crimes, but much of it is left for law enforcement to use at its own discretion. There are even cases where a person's money can be seized even if they are never charged with a crime under the practice of civil forfeiture. Defendants should have the right to at least gather evidence against them before their assets are frozen, and be able to use their savings in times of needs , like if they are being tried in a jury and need a good lawyer to defend their case. While others may say that the Kaleys will still have a lawyer given to them as required by law, the required lawyer's primary job would be to prepare the Kaleys for trial and sentencing and examination of their prior criminal history, so it is not guaranteed that their lawyer is experienced enough to take on a case like the Kaley's, so the legal representation is pretty much under questioning, which is why the Kaleys would need access to their saving bonds to get a good lawyer and defend them.

1/14/2014
Irving/Texas
Leanna
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that defendants should have the right to challenge their case before the government freezes their assets. Yes, when the government freezes their assets before their trial, they're already assuming that the defendant is guilty. That creates an unfair trial for the defendant. By freezing the defendant's assets, they're taking away their chance to be represented well with a good lawyer. Freezing the defendant's assets before a trial seems unconstitutional because it limits the defendant to properly defend themselves in trial.

1/13/2014
Irving/Texas
Joseph C.
Bradley/Nimitz
I think they should have a right to challenge their indictment because they should be able to use money as long as its going towards their case. Their money could be a deciding factor in whether or not they are guilty. Also I think they should be able to challenge because they haven't even been proven guilty. In my opinion this defeats the purpose of this principle. I also believe that it infringes on the right to counsel especially because they were using the money to pay for good lawyers.

1/12/2014
Irving/Texas
Jose A.
Bradley/Nimitz
The defendants are entitled to hear about their assets before they’re frozen because they need an advanced notice so that they can prepare for what’s to come. In addition, the defendants must have money to support their family, pay for food/bills, and have some money left over in case of emergencies. It seems as if the practice of ‘freezing a person’s assets’ is the reversed counterpart of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. I don’t know about the folks up in Washington, but to me this whole ‘freezing’ business seems more of an unjust ‘guilty until proven innocent.Furthermore, freezing a person’s assets completely interrupts the sole purpose of the right to counsel.

1/10/2014
Irving/Texas
Chadwick
Bradley/Nimitz
A defendant should have the ability to challenge their cases before the government freezes their assets. The government's action of freezing assets before a defendant can challenge does infringe upon the idea of innocent until proven guilty; however, freezing one's assets only occurs when there is reasonable doubt to whether the suspect may flee the country and disappear. This being said, the government freezing assets does not infringe on the right to counsel as they will be given counsel since they technically can't afford one. They are still given a fair trial and the grand jury is selected to have an open mind and hear all of the facts in a case, so no the suspect may not have the counsel they necessarily want, but they are still given counsel as justified by their rights. This scenario incites a sticky situation in which laundered money may be used to acquire a very, very good lawyer to lessen any charges against a suspect; however, the moral question is why let a suspect use money unlawfully acquired to escape any charges.

1/9/2014
Irving/Tx
Miriam
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing someone’s assets is unconstitutional because the government should not be able to control your bank account. Freezing someone assets does indicate a sense of guiltiness. Presenting this information during a trial definately would sway the jury because it give the illusion of guilty. This created an unfair trial. If there is concrete, hard evidence that an amount of money is 100% illegally gain , then by all means freeze it. Until then it all is assumptions and hunches, completely circumstantial. By freezing, you are limiting someone, they can’t get the lawyer they feel will represent them well or pay any legal fees which will resort to them having to take measure they should have to take.

1/9/2014
Irving/Texas
Chadwick
Bradley/Nimitz
A defendant should have the ability to challenge their cases before the government freezes their assets. The government's action of freezing assets before a defendant can challenge does infringe upon the idea of innocent until proven guilty; however, freezing one's assets only occurs when there is reasonable doubt to whether the suspect may flee the country and disappear. This being said, the government freezing assets does not infringe on the right to counsel as they will be given counsel since they technically can't afford one. They are still given a fair trial and the grand jury is selected to have an open mind and hear all of the facts in a case, so no the suspect may not have the counsel they necessarily want, but they are still given counsel as justified by their rights. This scenario incites a sticky situation in which laundered money may be used to acquire a very, very good lawyer to lessen any charges against a suspect; however, the moral question is why let a suspect use money unlawfully acquired to escape any charges.

1/9/2014
Irving/Tx
Kristiyan
Bradley/Nimitz
Defendants should have the right and should be given the opportunity to challenge their indictments before their assets are frozen. Taking this priviledge away from someone is breaking the concept and idea of innocent until proven guilty and that is unfair for any one person. This procedure should be put on trial and changed because sooner or later this system is going to break down and there are going to be many unhappy people. This does infringe on the right to counsel and I would personally be very upset if this happened to me.

1/9/2014
Irving/TX
Reyanna
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing a defendants assets before they can challenge their case is unconstitutional. This goes against the concept of innocent before proven guilty. It is reasonable for the authorities to want to take action against the defendant if they have been accused of a terrible crime, but then again it is not fair. I don't think that freezing ones assets should be allowed, but if this course is taken, it should be taken with caution. In the case of the Kerri Kaley, I think that they should have frozen her assets after she was able to defend and challenge her case.

1/7/2014
Irving/TX
Aaron
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing one's assets, while not constitutional, is a way of making certain that the accused in question can, in no way, use their money to potentially use to rid themselves of the crime (i.e. fleeing to another country). From a authoritative standpoint, I can see why this is performed and supported. And from a citizen's standpoint, I, too, can bawk at the idea that this is performed. I suppose that's where my opinion lies: somewhere in the middle. Freezing one's assets is an extreme measure, so it must be done with caution.

1/7/2014
Irving/Tx
Seth
Bradley/Nimitz
If we were being just i would say the have the right to have a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen but then again they could also seize this opportunity to flee the country with this money also. Its really a hard decision but in order to be fair all around they should be entitled a hearing. I dont think because you froze their accounts that your saying they are guilty no you are saying we are taking precautions until you are proven not guilty. Now seizing someones assets has to be outruled because that is not right you cannot take someones or keep their money away from them without right to counsel.

1/7/2014
Irving/Texas
Teven
Bradley/Nimitz
Defendants should be entitled to challenge their indictments before their assets are frozen. Freezing the defendant's assets before a trial goes against the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Taking assets before a trial infringes upon the right to council. All in all, the procedure of freezing assets before a trial should be halted.

1/6/2014
Irving/tx
Elizabeth C.
Bradley/Nimitz
Freezing a defendant's assets before a trail does counter our governments principal of one being innocent until proven guilty. When the court froze kaley's assets without letting her challenge her case, the court denied her right to counsel a fair trial. By doing this the court is basically setting kaley up to be guilty before a fair fight. In kaley's case it prevented her from being able to hire a lawyer to defend her from the state's allegations. With that being said I believe something needs to be done to fix our current system before who knows how many others defendants will be left with nothing.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Savannah G
Mr. Hawkins/ Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
I believe that freezing a defendant’s assets can often be the lesser of two evils. If a powerful criminal has all of their resources available to them, they can do harm to not only the prosecution’s case, but to witnesses of their crimes. Money is a powerful thing, and a criminal having that power in their corners is not something that would be a good idea. Granted, it did prevent the Kaley’s from hiring the lawyers they wanted. This is unfortunate. However, the court still provided them with lawyers, and since they had been accused of two different crimes relating to money, it’s probable that they were indeed guilty. Of course they wanted to hire expensive lawyers; they would need all the help they could get to not be charged. In this sense, preventing them from hiring expensive lawyers could almost be considered just. If they committed crimes, they deserve to be punished. Often, with a good enough lawyer, that punishment is drastically reduced or simply evaded altogether. I think that one way to solve the issue of infringing the right to council is to allow for a hearing to challenge the indictment prior to their assets being frozen. Perhaps there can be an agreement reached as to how much of the assets can be spent on lawyers, considering the charges against the defendant and the potential amount that would need to be taken from the assets if the defendant is convicted. It does seem to somewhat counter the principle of innocent until proven guilty, but it also pertains to probable cause. Also, if the defendant is found guilty, some of their assets may be needed to compensate the victims of their crimes if applicable. If the assets aren’t frozen prior to the trial, it is probable that they will disappear before any court of law can seize them. I do believe that a trial to challenge indictment would be beneficial, but I also believe that the seizure of a defendant’s assets prior to a hearing, with probable cause, is completely reasonable and should be legal.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Chris S.
Mr. Hawkins/BCMHS
In the U.S. judicial system, all defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. This has been a standard followed for hundreds of years to prevent tyranny and corruption of the state. Freezing the defendant’s assets before a verdict is made assumes the defendant is already guilty. Not only does this go against the aforementioned standard, but it violates the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial. Without money, you can’t afford the best lawyers possible to defend you from the state’s allegations. The government can take away your money, assign you one of their lawyers, and then declare you guilty. The current system is rigged by the government to favor the government and leave the defendants helpless.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/CA
Jonathan
Hawkins/Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Freezing a suspect’s assets seems like the right thing to do when you catch an international drug smuggler and don’t want him leaving the country, but is that the right thing to do for Kerri Kaley? Kerri and her husband, Brian, claim that they were in the right when they were reselling old hospital equipment that other hospitals were throwing out. If they are truly in the right then why did the government freeze their assets instead of question the legality of their claim? I believe it would be constitutional to freeze the assets of certain suspects based on the case. Cases where they are actually hurting people or where they are smuggling certain Schedule narcotics should be treated differently than someone who is reselling old equipment. What if every time you were pulled over, suspected of doing something, that your license was suspended? That is the same premise that is happening here. Kerri and her husband are being suspected of stealing something and in that suspicion they are having their personal property held against them.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/ California
Aareka Davis
Dave Hawkins/Buckingham Charter Magnet High School
Technically the act of freezing a defendant’s assets is not constitutional. We as Americans have the right to a fair trial. This includes the ability to be able to pay off legal fees. After all, we are all considered innocent until proven guilty. However when you take violent defenses into consideration, this is no longer comforting. I feel that freezing a defendant’s assets before a trial is a necessary evil. If a potential suspect of a white collar defense has the capability of paying their way out of the country, then the most logical thing to do would be to flee the country in hopes of establishing a new life where they cannot be identified. Though the government aims to follow the rules of constitution, sometimes they are presented with situations that force them to do the complete opposite.

12/18/2013
Vacaville/California
Morgan
Hawkins/BCMHS
Freezing a defendant’s assets before a trial, to prevent them from fleeing the country, is a very practical move. On the other hand it prevents the defendant to hire the lawyers they desire, which is crucial in a trial. Our judicial system rests on innocent until proven guilty, but if the defendant flees before they are found guilty; it would cause a lot of problems that could have been avoided. If the defendant could not afford a lawyer in the first place, it is their constitutional right to be appointed a lawyer, and freezing their assets would not be infringing on their rights. On the other hand those who do have the money to pay for a lawyer should be allowed to pay for that, but only that. I believe that the defendants assets should be frozen, but a budget should be allowed to go directly to the lawyer and nowhere else.

12/14/2013
Shoreline/ Washington
Hyejoo
Knox/Shorewood
The U.S government is strongly based on the ideal of innocence until proven guilty However freezing someone's assets without a pretrial would violate the right to a fair trial. In the Kaley case, they set asides the money that they wired for, to be able to hire legal help. This is restricting to them because they're being penalized early on. Part of the Sixth Amendment in the Constitution allow the accused to a lawyer.The Kaley's have the money to pay fir their legal help, however freezing that right, infringes on the right that they have according to the Sixth Amendment.

12/13/2013
Shoreline WA
Naomi Turner
Knox/ Shorewood Highschool
I believe that a defendant has every right to their assets, and there for have a right to a pretrial hearing. People have the right to property, just as they have the right to life, liberty, the freedom of speech, a fair trial, and the per suit of happiness. People loose these rights, only when they have committed a handouts crime, and have under gone a fair trial, with legal representation. By freezing the defendants assets, the court is intact preventing them from having the representation they believe they will need. Court appointment end lawyers are not always the highest payed, or the best representation for the defendant. The dependent has the right to choose there own representation if they can afford it. By freezing there assets, you deny them that right

12/13/2013
Shoreline/Washington
Erin
Knox/Shorewood
Defendants should have the right to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen unless they are being charged of a criminal rather than civil offense. Inhabitants of the United States have the right to due process and taking away their right to a fair trial would violate such legislative privileges. However, if the defendant is a serious threat to others around them, it is crucial to societal safety that they remain in the custody of the government. The process of freezing the assets of defendants is also not a violation of the principle of being innocent until proven guilty because it levels the playing field. We cannot allow the rich to be above the law by allowing their wealth to bail them out if they have harmed the society that has given them such wealth.

12/13/2013
Shoreline/Wa
Maggie
Ms. Knox/Shorewood
Defendants should be entitled to a hearing to challenge their indictment before their assets are frozen. People have a right to know the charges they are faced with so they can plead guilty or not guilty basted on what they choose. Also, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, so freezing someone's assets before they are proven guilty is taking a once innocent persons assets away. In the example given, though, the couple had obviously put aside money to pay for the lawyers and other expenses that they would have to pay if they had to go to court. By 2007 they already had one stain on their record. Even though they were already possibly criminals (the anecdote given didn't tell the verdict), they didn't know of the indictment that they had been put under, so they couldn't have had time to plead guilty or innocent in the time allotted, making them still innocent when their assets were frozen. This is a violation of their right of being innocent until proven guilty, as I stated earlier.

12/13/2013
Shoreline WA
Eva W
Knox/Shorewood HS
Convicts should without a doubt receive a retrial before assets are frozen, but I don't believe that's all they should receive. If they cannot access money in the bank, then wouldn't they be unable to do anything - legal or illegal - until after the trial? How would they eat, pay rent, and provide for themselves and in some cases, their family, if they don't have access to their own money? That money is theirs, and whether they earned legally or not, it can't be proved either way until after the trial. Why then, should we allow innocent people to suffer, especially when we could do something about it.

12/13/2013
Irving/TX
Sergio G.
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe a person should be given an indictment before their assets are frozen. The reason for that is that you have proven them guilty yet so you are not only countering one concept of this great nation, but at the same time two. Finally if you freeze their assets you are actually creating a greater boundary from equality in the hearing. This is being done by not allowing the person to blame a chance to use its saving in a better chance to prove themselves not guilty.

12/12/2013
Irving/Texas
Roberto.S
Bradley/Nimitz H S
Freezing someone assets before a trial is not constitutionally right reason, is that the individual has the right to challenge this case, if he knows that he is innocent then he can, plead to the court that his assets won't be taken away by the government. Also I feel that when movies portray this kinda of power that the government, has over the people feels wrong in a way, for example in the movies, the individual has everything taking away, from him like house money and even bank accounts that this portrays a bad image of how the government has a lot of power.

12/12/2013
Washington
John Ehni
Knox/Shorewood
Of all the aspects of American government, the fact that we believe in innocence until proven guilty makes me the most proud. We would much rather see a hundred guilty men walk free than one innocent be wrongfully imprisoned. The act of freezing an individuals assets, basically cutting them off from all of their earned cash both legal and illegal, violates this principle that is the foundation for our entire legal system. I admit that there is a definite benefit of restricting a suspect's access to money but is it worth the slippery slope? If the decision is made before a formal trial, who has the authority to suddenly void a person's assets? What if the suspect is innocent and they have a family or other people dependent on their bank account? It seems highly unconstitutional for one person to be able to extrajudicially freeze a citizen's hard earned money. As in the case of Kaley v. United States, this act can also significantly lessen an individual

12/12/2013
Shoreline/WA
Jack A.
Knox/Shorewood
There is definitely something a little, so called, "fishy" in freezing someone's assets in order to prevent such acts as fleeing to another country. However, there are certain circumstances in which the freezing of assets is completely necessary. The statement saying that you are innocent until proven guilty would most definitely apply in many situations. I don't think it is constitutional in every situation to freeze someone's assets and basically force them to come to the trial. There should be some steps prior to an actual trial in order to decide whether to freeze the assets of a prosecuted individual. In the case we read about the Kaley's, their assets where frozen that were set out in case of something like this should happen so that they could pay for the lawyers they wanted. This act is in my opinion unconstitutional because it does refuse the right to counsel. By freezing these assets they were given a lawyer by the state whom they may not have complete trust in or who may not be as good as a lawyer. I think it is unconstitutional to freeze the assets of defendants in almost all situation. There are exceptions but for the most part a defendant should be given the right to counsel in order to defend their case.

12/12/2013
Irving/Texas
Sarah M.
Bradley/Nimitz
I definitely think that freezing someones assets before a trial contradicts the 'innocent until proven guilty' principle. If someone is innocent until proven guilty, I don't see how it's okay to treat them as if they have already been proven to be criminals. The Kaleys can't even get a proper lawyer because all of the money they've had saved for this purpose has been withheld. They should have be given a proper trial before their assets were frozen to ensure that everything is fair. Freezing someones assets without proper trial is almost the same thing as arresting someone without informing them of what they've done wrong. I can see why the Government would do this though. They only want to prevent people from using any money they've gained through illegal means, and also prevent anyone from fleeing the country as stated in the article. I just don't think it's okay to do that before giving defendants a chance to actually defend themselves.

Related News
Related Resources
Share