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Showing posts from June, 2017

FBI agent's leaks to local media outlets did not violate defendant's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights

In United States v. Chaka Fattah, Jr., Docket No. 16-1265 (3d Cir. June 2, 2017), the Third Circuit considered whether a FBI agent's leaks to the press regarding the execution of sealed search warrants violated the defendant's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. While the Court criticized the agent's behavior, it ultimately found that no constitutional violations occurred.

With regard to the Sixth Amendment violation, Fattah claimed that the pretrial publicity about the search warrants caused his employer to terminate his employment. According to Fattah, the unrealized income from that employment was necessary for him to afford counsel of his choice, thereby violating his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The Court found that applying such a far-reaching theory of causation would stretch the outer limits of the Sixth Amendment to breaking because: (1) the government lacked any desire or purpose to deliberately interfere with counsel, (2) any alleged loss of income would have…