Saturday, March 13th, 2010

PC World

United States v. Muse, No. 07-4483-cr (2d Cir. March 11, 2010)(Walker, Calabresi, Wesley, CJJ) (per curiam)

Two defendants in a large khat prosecution appealed the multi-million dollar forfeiture orders against them, arguing that a defendant in a drug case is not subject to forfeiture where he does not have assets to satisfy the judgment at the time of sentencing. The court joined the First, Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits in rejecting that argument and holding that 21 U.S.C. § 853 permits imposition of a money judgment on a defendant who has no assets at the time of sentencing. The court noted that this was consistent with the statute’s language and purpose and that a contrary interpretation “could have the undesirable effect of creating an incentive for an individual involved in a criminal enterprise to rid himself of his ill-gotten gains to avoid the forfeiture sanction.”

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