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Georgiou v. United States
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner (On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari).
Argument: In Honeycutt v. United States, the Supreme Court held that the government may not impose a forfeiture order against a criminal defendant on the basis of joint and several liability, overturning decades of precedent to the contrary. Before Honeycutt, many forfeiture orders were imposed on defendants based on their joint and several liability. When habeas relief is unavailable, these defendants should be able to obtain relief through an extraordinary writ, such as the writ of coram nobis or audita querela, for three reasons. First, these forfeiture orders were issued without lawful authority and therefore violate due process. Second, these forfeiture orders exceed what Congress has deemed permissible and therefore violate the Eighth Amendment. And third, allowing these forfeiture orders to stand in light of these due process and Eighth Amendment violations is not in the public interest.
Honeycutt v. United States
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: Joint and several forfeiture liability violates basic principles of sentencing. Joint and several forfeiture liability imposes a de facto criminal fine in contravention of congressional intent. Congress enacted § 853 to deprive defendants of their proceeds from crime. Joint and several forfeiture liability disregards the limits Congress imposed on fines for drug offenders. The Court should construe § 853 to avoid serious constitutional problems.
Bane v. United States
Brief for Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant and Reversal
Argument: Honeycutt pronounced a new substantive rule that applies retroactively on collateral review. Honeycutt changed the landscape of criminal forfeiture. Honeycutt’s rule is substantive and therefore applies retroactively on collateral review. A criminal forfeiture order entered without authority of law is a fundamental error warranting extraordinary relief. The government’s seizure of property without lawful authority violates fundamental principles of due process. Forfeiture orders based on joint and several liability violate the Eighth Amendment when the defendant received no proceeds from the crime. Permitting a forfeiture order entered without legal authority to stand serves no legitimate public interest.