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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

DOJ, HHS announce massive health care fraud crackdown

Given all of the recent discussion over the last week about the latest version of the healthcare bill, it's possible that many people overlooked a joint announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price concerning a national health care fraud crackdown.

While you might imagine this was just some run-of-the-mill press conference to inflate the results of relatively minor operation against a few providers, this was far from the case. Indeed, AG Sessions classified it as the largest health care fraud operation in the nation's history.

Bill altering state's civil asset forfeiture law sent to governor

The notion of local or state law enforcement agencies seizing property in connection with the filing of charges probably doesn't sound especially shocking to most people. What may be shocking, however, is to learn that these property seizures can also occur absent the filing of any charges.

Indeed, the civil asset forfeiture law here in Illinois currently dictates that law enforcement agencies have the authority to take personal property -- vehicles, money, homes, etc. -- if it's merely suspected to be involved in some manner of illegal conduct. In other words, a person can see their property taken absent a conviction, the filing of formal charges or even an arrest.

Does poor legal advice prevent deportation? - II

Last week, our blog discussed how the Supreme Court of the United States recently wrapped up what proved to be an exceptionally demanding 2016-17 term. Indeed, the nation's high court was called upon to decide a host of important cases, several of which had the potential to dramatically alter the legal landscape in the area of criminal law.    

By way of example, we began exploring Lee v. United States, which examined whether an immigrant facing deportation because of substandard legal advice should be given a reprieve. We'll continue this exploration in today's post.

Does poor legal advice prevent deportation?

Monday marked the final day of the 2016-17 term for the Supreme Court of the United States and, as anticipated, it proved to be an exceptionally busy day. Indeed, the court released opinions in six cases, including the one examining President Trump's proposed travel ban.

While much of the recent dialogue in the press and legal circles has understandably revolved around these final cases, it's important not to overlook some of the other cases decided by SCOTUS in the days leading up to its Monday finale. For example, consider the decision in Lee v. United States, released this past Friday, which examines the important issue of whether an immigrant who is facing deportation because of substandard legal advice should be given a reprieve.

SCOTUS grants cert in important Fourth Amendment data tracking case - II

Last week, we began discussing how the Supreme Court of the United States recently granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in Carpenter v. United States, a case that could have major implications for Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

Having established the facts of the case, today's post will continue our discussion, focusing on the "third-party doctrine" heretofore relied upon by federal appellate courts in these types of cases, the issues before SCOTUS in Carpenter, and the reasons why the case itself is so important.

SCOTUS grants cert in important Fourth Amendment data tracking case

With all of the excitement on Capitol Hill last week owing to the testimony of former FBI director James Comey before a Senate Panel, it's possible that many people overlooked a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to review an important case during their next term -- one that could have major implications for Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

Specifically, the court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari last Monday in Carpenter v. United States, a case examining government access to historical cell-site records, meaning the data held by cellphone companies showing users' movements over time.

What you need to understand about the 'club drug' ketamine

As much as the décor, the music and the fashions favored by people may change, there is one thing about dance clubs, bars and nighttime hotspots that will never change: the presence of illegal narcotics. Indeed, the reality is that while most responsible owners do everything in their power to run clean establishments, customers and even staff will often find ways to bring drugs onto the premises for use or sale.

Of course, the types of drugs found at these destinations can also vary according to what happens to be in demand at the time. For instance, Ecstasy or MDMA was a very popular "club drug" in the 90s and is still something of a mainstay. Now, however, more club patrons are experimenting with a drug known as ketamine.

Bill targeting repeat gun offenders delayed by procedural maneuver

While most people were out enjoying the Memorial Day weekend, state lawmakers were hard at work in Springfield attempting to reach agreements on a host of issues from the budget and enhanced protections for immigrants to automatic voter registration and criminal law reform.

Regarding this last point, the Illinois House voted 70-41 to pass a measure granting judges the ability to hand down lengthier prison sentences to repeat gun offenders. However, this effort was halted -- at least temporarily -- by an arcane procedural maneuver undertaken by one representative on behalf of a highly influential group of lawmakers.    

Back the Blue Act reintroduced on Capitol Hill

Last week, our blog discussed how Attorney General Jeff Session's recent order directing all 94 U.S. Attorneys to start charging and pursuing the most "serious" offenses, meaning those carrying "the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences," was already creating considerable controversy.

Interestingly enough, while legal circles across the nation were still trying to process what exactly this would mean going forward, another controversial tough-on-crime measure was introduced -- or reintroduced -- by the federal government.

Did AG Sessions just reignite the war on drugs?

In recognition of the astronomical cost and grave injustice that has resulted from keeping non-violent drug offenders locked in federal prisons for decades owing to draconian sentencing schemes established roughly 30 years ago, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder formally adopted what was known as the "Smart on Crime Initiative" in 2013.

At its core, this initiative called on federal prosecutors to focus on the most serious crimes and reduce the number of individuals charged with non-violent drug offenses that could result in lengthy mandatory minimum sentences.

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