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Justices to take on new case over frozen assets

June 8, 2015

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to decide whether the government can put a hold on untainted money and property that a criminal defendant needs to hire a lawyer.

The justices said Monday that they will review the case of Sila Luis of Miami-Dade County, Florida, who has been indicted on fraud charges involving $45 million in allegedly improper Medicare payments. On the same day Luis was indicted in 2012, federal prosecutors froze her assets.

Luis said the freeze includes money with no ties to the charges against her and that she has a constitutional right to use the funds to hire a lawyer to mount a defense. Lower courts ruled against her.

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