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ICE appeals victim rights case to Supreme Court

As reported by the FCPA Professor last week, Costa Rica’s Instituto Costarricense De Electricidad (ICE) filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in November.

In its Petition, ICE asks the following question, “Whether a crime victim who is denied rights conferred by the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act has a right to directly appeal the denial of those rights?” ICE is the Costa Rican telephone company, who had several top executive bribed by Alcatel-Lucent (or its predecessor) to obtain telecommunications contracts in Costa Rica.

ICE sought to obtain status under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its Information against Alcatel-Lucent for its world-wide bribery and corruption scheme, which violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. ICE desired to (1) obtain some victim’s rights based compensation and (2) have a voice in the sentencing of Alcatel-Lucent. This filing was opposed by the DOJ and eventually dismissed by the District Court which noted that it would be difficult to “figure out the behavior of who was the victim and who was the offender” and also noted by that ICE was “essentially” a co-conspirator with Alcatel-Lucent regarding the bribery. All of this led to a finding that ICE was not a victim.

ICE then filed a Petition for Mandamus in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which was denied without explanation. It also filed a Direct Appeal to the 11th Circuit was also denied on two grounds. The first was that ICE had no standing because no Final Judgment had been entered and second, ICE lacked standing to appeal any Final Judgment. It also noted that the Writ of Mandamus was the only avenue available for review under the CVRA.

In its Petition to the Supreme Court, ICE argued that there was a split in the US Circuit Courts as to whether a Party under the CVRA has a right of Direct Appeal or whether the only avenue open is via a Writ of Mandamus.

A copy of ICE’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court can be downloaded courtesy of law360 in pdf here.


Thomas Fox is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog.

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