The awful ordeal for anyone accused of a serious federal crime doesn’t start with a conviction or plea deal. It begins with indictment and arrest. That’s when the accused — who’s still entitled to the presumption of innocence — enters the system. They’ll remain there until acquitted or, in the worst case, until they’ve served their prison sentence and completed probation.
Lori Loughlin is one of more than 30 people charged in the college admissions cheating scandal. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts indicted her on three conspiracy counts related to bribery, mail fraud, and money laundering. She faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on all counts. She has pleaded not guilty and her jury trial is scheduled to start in October this year.
For now, while Lori Loughlin waits for her day in court, she’s not in jail. Nor is she free. Like anyone accused of a serious federal crime, she has already lost many of her normal civil rights. She acknowledged losing those rights on April 3, 2019, when she agreed to obey a court order that sets out the conditions of her pretrial release.
The restrictions on her travel are tough. She’s not allowed to leave the United States without permission from the court. Even for travel within the country, she needs permission (based on advanced notice) from the pretrial office of the United States Marshals, known as “pretrial” for short.
To make sure she doesn’t leave the United States, the court ordered her to surrender to pretrial any passport she holds. She’s also prohibited from obtaining another passport.
She can ask for permission to travel abroad. But a magistrate in her case, at a hearing last April, already warned: “Requests for international business travel should be made by motion and the court is disinclined to allow personal international travel.”
Other restrictions require her to advise the court or the Marshals “in writing before making any change of residence or telephone number.”
She must cooperate in the collection of a DNA sample if authorized by statute.
She’s not allowed to have contact — “direct or indirect” — with any person who “is or may be a victim or witness in the investigation or prosecution, including co-defendants (unless in the presence of counsel).” Family members are excluded from this restriction. (Her husband is a co-defendant, and her two daughters are potential witnesses or co-defendants.)
Her conditions of release stipulate that: “Any firearms should be removed from primary residences and verification should be given to pretrial.”
She must appear in court “as required and, if convicted, must surrender as directed to serve a sentence that the court may impose.”
If Lori Loughlin doesn’t comply with any conditions of her pretrial release, the feds can issue a warrant for her arrest. That could result in her being fined or jailed or both for contempt of court.