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Media & Articles

Ron Levine Examines the Use of 'Speaking' Indictments by the DOJ for the November 2016 Business Crimes Bulletin

November 10, 2016

Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Chair, Ronald H. Levine, recently examined the use of "speaking" indictments by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors for the November 2016 issue of Business Crimes Bulletin

In discussing the use of speaking indictments, which refer to indictments that go beyond the Fed.R.Crim.P. 7(c)(1) requirement of a “plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged,” Mr. Levine notes:

"The government’s power to craft charges in the context of severe advisory sentencing guidelines already tilts the playing field. The outsized number of plea agreements and the dearth of trials attest to this. The deployment of speaking indictments, sparking inflammatory media coverage and providing a second government closing argument in the jury deliberation room, should be circumscribed by the courts, contested by defense counsel and re-examined by DOJ policymakers.”