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SCOTUS Asked to Review Whether the Denial of Funds to Indigent Defendant to Retain a Forensic Expert Violated His Due Process Right to Present an Adequate Defense

For Immediate Release: July  7, 2017

Contact: Craig M. Sandberg, 312.263.7249, craig@muslin-sandberg.com

Washington, D.C. – In February 2015, Defendant was indicted on one count each of wire fraud and money laundering related to off-exchange foreign currency (forex) trading. In December 2015, Defendant, an individual the district court found to be indigent, requested public funds for expert assistance to respond to the government’s evidence and requiring a forensic computer expert (the “Funding Motion”). Defendant sought the retention of a forensic computer expert to collect, analyze, and report on digital data from Defendant’s computer to look for a digital track record that would corroborate, substantiate, in some way verify whether documents provided to him came from a real digital account represented on a website.

The motion stated that Defendant did not have the ability to fund the legal defense of his case. Defendant argued he needed to engage an expert in the area of digital forensics in order to prepare an adequate defense to the government’s case. The anticipated cost for this expert would be at least $4,000. Stauffer cited 18 U.S.C. § 3006A to show the Court that CJA-eligible defendants with retained counsel still have access to necessary expert services in order to ensure constitutionally-adequate (effective) representation when they were otherwise financially unable to pay for those services.

The trial court denied the motion. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of both counts. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of funds to retain the expert.

WHAT: Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Stauffer v. United States (Docket No. 17-5148) seeking review of the Sixth Circuit’s opinion reported at United States v. Stauffer, Docket No. 16-1951 (6th Cir. June 19, 2017).

WHO: Craig M. Sandberg of the law firm of Muslin & Sandberg. Mr. Sandberg represents the defendant pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”), Title 18, United States Code, §3006A the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”), having been appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

WHERE: Supreme Court of the United States, 1 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C.

To view a PDF of the petition, please click here: Stauffer v. United States, Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, No. 17-5148.

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