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Supreme Court hears money laundering case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] in Cuellar v. United States [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1456, where the Court considered "whether merely hiding funds with no design to create the appearance of legitimate wealth is sufficient to support a money laundering conviction" under 18 USC 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) [text]. The case involves Humberto Cuellar, who was sentenced to over six years in prison for international money laundering. Cuellar's car was pulled over about 100 miles from the Mexico border and police found over $80,000 in cash hidden in the vehicle. Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, seemed skeptical that the Cuellar's actions met the requirements of the federal money laundering statute. Cuellar is appealing a decision [PDF text] from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding his conviction. AP has more.

The Court also heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] in Warner-Lambert v. Kent [LII case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1498, where the Court considered whether federal law preempts a Michigan law that allows personal injury lawsuits against prescription drug manufacturers only when the drug at issue was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration based on the fraudulent submission or withholding of information.

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