Clinton Brook & Peed Files Brief in Supreme Court Criminal-Restitution Case
Today we filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Lagos v. United States, No. 16–1519, an important criminal case in which the Court is considering whether the federal Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) authorizes restitution for companies' internal investigations that were neither requested nor required by the government. We prepared the amicus brief on behalf of Shon Hopwood, a professor at Georgetown Law and a prominent advocate for criminal-justice reform. Before becoming a lawyer, Professor Hopwood served nearly eleven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple bank robberies; his path from prisoner to lawyer was recently covered on 60 Minutes.
In the brief, we argue that allowing restitution for expensive internal investigations would saddle defendants with even more unpayable debt, impeding their rehabilitation and making them more likely to commit new crimes. And with research showing that uncollectible restitution awards frustrate victims and produce disrespect for the justice system, extending the MVRA to provide restitution awards for internal investigations would harm defendants, victims, and the justice system alike.
The brief was prepared by Washington, DC partner Greg Lipper. In September, Greg successfully argued a restitution appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which partially vacated a restitution award against our client, former Duane Reade CEO Anthony Cuti; that $6.5 million restitution award had been issued for investigatory and related expenses like those now at issue in Lagos.
Dean Seal, Defense Bar, Law Prof Side With Ex-CEO Over GE Legal Tab, Law360 (March 6, 2018)