Supreme Court to Hear Another Forfeiture Case Next Fall
The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will decide if defendants who plead guilty and agree to forfeit their assets have the right to a jury trial about the amount of the assets to be forfeited (Linda Greenhouse, "Court to Review Forfeiture in Drug Case," New York Times, Mar. 28, 1995, p. A16; Libretti v. United States, No. 94-7427, 38 F. 3d 523).
The trial judge ordered the forfeiture of all property "owned by [the defendant] by reason of any drug transaction." The defendant, Joseph Libretti, Jr., had all of his personal property and his retirement account seized. When Libretti found out that all of his assets had been seized, he objected to the judge at a sentencing hearing. The Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected Libretti's appeal argument that not all of his assets could be tied to drug profits.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next fall.