U.S. Supreme Court

Did Dissent in Money Laundering Case Get Justices’ Attention?

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Dissents by two conservative judges on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have led the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a money laundering case yesterday.

That’s the conclusion of the New York Times. The dissenters complained that using the money-laundering law to prosecute a Texas man who hid money in his car amounted to “prosecution run amok.”

The law bars transportation or transmission of money derived from illegal activity that is designed to “conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control” of the cash.

Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit wrote in his dissent that the majority had stretched the definition of money laundering so that it would even cover a petty thief who hid money in his shoe to enjoy a night at the bars over the border in Mexico.

“This is a case of a prosecution run amok,” Smith wrote. “Mike Nifong, another prosecutor apparently familiar with the ‘win at any cost’ mantra, most surely would approve.”

The case is the second money laundering appeal accepted by the court.

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