Tuesday, June 26, 2018
All is quiet on the white collar crime front for the 2018 Supreme Court Term. But there are likely a good many more grants to come. And of course one never knows when a civil case will have implications in the criminal sphere. Global Tech (2011), a patent infringement case, ended up being at the forefront of many white collar cases as it examined the concept of willful blindness. Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission may have some implications in the white collar world as the Court examines "whether a misstatement claim that does not meet the elements set for in Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders can be repackaged and pursued as a fraudulent-scheme claim.." (see Scotus Blog here).
But there is one other case that white collar attorneys may want to follow - Timbs v. Indiana, which looks at "[w]hether the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause is incorporated against the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. (see Scotus Blog here). Although this deals with a state issue and addresses the issue from a drug-related perspective, it does examine whether the excessive fines clause gets incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment. The incorporation/selective-incorporation debate has deep roots in Supreme Court jurisprudence with some of the finest jurists debating the extent that Bill of Rights provisions get incorporated to the States. There are few provisions remaining in the Bill of Rights that have not been incorporated and one is the excessive fines clause. Maybe this Court will take the few remaining unincorporated provisions (e.g., grand jury presentment) and say lets move ahead and start giving everyone the basic rights provided in the federal system; or perhaps they will just grant this one and wait another few decades to consider the remaining unincorporated provisions. In the area of excessive fines, the heaviest burden of not incorporating this provision likely lies outside the white collar context, but that may be all the more reason to consider this case.