SCOTUS Will Hear ‘Joint Liability’ Forfeiture Question

Dec. 9, 2016, 9:54 PM

By Lance J. Rogers, Bloomberg BNA

A convicted co-conspirator in a meth distribution ring will get a chance to argue in the U.S. Supreme Court that he shouldn’t be made to forfeit more than $60,000 in criminal proceeds because he never actually collected any of the ill-gotten profits from the enterprise.

The Sixth Circuit ruled that criminal forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § U.S.C. 853(a)(1) was appropriate because Terry Honeycutt conspired with his brother to selling meth-making materials at the family’s camping and hunting store in Tennessee. Honeycutt’s participation in that conspiracy made him jointly and severally liable for the forfeiture of the drug conspiracy proceeds, the court said.

The Sixth Circuit’s ruling is consistent with decisions from the Second, Third, Fourth and Eighth circuits. The District of Columbia Circuit has reached the opposite conclusion.

The case is Honeycutt v. United States, No. 16-142, review granted Dec. 9, 2016.

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