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Supreme Court to consider when assets can be frozen pre-trial

People walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley
People walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider in what circumstances the assets of a defendant can be frozen before trial.

The question before the high court is whether prosecutors can prevent defendants from using their assets to pay for a lawyer without a hearing on the issue.

The case concerns Kerri Kaley, a sales representative for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc, who was indicted by federal prosecutors in Florida for reselling certain medical devices, including sutures, that she obtained from hospitals to which she had previously sold the same products.

Kaley and her husband Brian were both indicted in February 2007 on seven counts. Prior to the trial federal prosecutors sought to seize their assets.

The case will be argued and decided in the court's next term, which starts in October and runs until June 2014.

The case is Kaley v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-464.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Alden Bentley)

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