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August 28, 2008

Second Circuit upholds Sixth Amendment KPMG ruling

In a significant ruling that will sure warm the hearts of all white-collar defense attorneys, the Second Circuit today has affirmed the Judge Lewis Kaplan's groundbreaking right-to-counsel Sixth Amendment ruling the the KPMG case.  The decision in US v. Stein, No. 07-3042 (2d Cir. Aug. 28, 2008) (available here), starts with this summary:

The United States appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Kaplan, J.), dismissing an indictment against Defendants-Appellees, thirteen former partners and employees of accounting firm KPMG, LLP.   We affirm the district court’s ruling that the government deprived Defendants-Appellees of their right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment by causing KPMG to place conditions on the advancement of legal fees to Defendants-Appellees, and to cap the fees and ultimately end them. Because the government failed to cure the Sixth Amendment violation, and because no other remedy will return Defendants-Appellees to the status quo ante, we affirm the dismissal of the indictment. In a separate summary order.

UPDATE:  Here is an early AP report on the Second Circuit's ruling.

ANOTHER UPDATEHere is commentary on Stein (KPMG) from White Collar Crime Prof Blog.

August 28, 2008 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

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Comments

And yet, amazingly, when the prosecution makes just such a mistake as part of a plea agreement, engages in conduct the appeals court find "reprehensible," the proper remedy is to simply send the case over to another judge.

Any sane person knows that if these people were being tried for murder, the court would not conclude that the only remedy was dismissal.

Sick. Just sick.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 28, 2008 3:50:37 PM

"Any sane person knows that if these people were being tried for murder, the court would not conclude that the only remedy was dismissal."

I wouldn't be so sure. Judge Kaplan and the 2d Cir., I think, really wanted some kind of lesser sanction. But, the government sort of made those sanctions not adequate.

If they were being tried for murder, of course, the government probably wouldn't have been able to pull what it tried in this case.

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 28, 2008 8:25:51 PM

I wish fewer people would use this blog's comments section to emote. If you have stress to release, then burst a paper bag, go play a sport, stick your head out the window and scream... something like that. Please.

Posted by: | Aug 28, 2008 9:07:06 PM

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