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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

11th Circuit Upholds Sixth Amendment, Kuehne's Exoneration

A few years ago, the Bush Administration Justice Department criminally charged a prominent Miami criminal defense attorney, Ben Kuehne, for issuing an opinion as to the legality of much-more prominent Florida criminal defense attorney Roy Black's accepting as legal fees funds from a now-convicted drug kingpin.  

This abomination of a case moved one step closer to its overdue end, when the 11th Circuit issued a ruling yesterday (Oct. 26th) upholding the dismissal of a money laundering conspiracy count against Kuehne and a Colombian accountant co-defendant.   Here is the appellate opinion.

The decision to prosecute Kuehne -- and even to investigate him and Black -- indicates the last Administration's hostility to the basic Sixth Amendment right to counsel.   

Perhaps more dangerously, and certainly more appallingly, the last Administration was very hostile towards lawyers in general and tended to view them as objects of derision, impediments to every Administration objective, and virtual enemies of the state.

Although we have a new Administration, the current Attorney General Eric Holder should determine who was responsible for the judgment to go after and attempt to ruin these lawyers for nothing more than their desire to do their job.    The responsible parties should be encouraged to use their talents in the private sector. 

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