Another Thought on SEC “Courts”

The SEC runs its own courts as it looks to punish those it has decided have engaged in civilly, if not criminally, wrong doings. As I’ve written before, the SEC brings its cases, appoints and pays the judges who’ll adjudicate the cases, and it has first say on any appeals.

In just such a case, an accused person facing a flipped witness (one to whom the SEC has made certain blandishments regarding is own misbehaviors in return for his testimony against a fellow misbehaver) is worried about the effects of those blandishments over the course of his trial.

Critics…worry that key safeguards on the use of cooperators in criminal cases are lacking in the SEC’s administrative courts, where the agency…[has] the power to decide what to fine the cooperator after he or she testifies.

The agency’s multiple roles strike at the “fundamental fairness” of its hearings, violating the checks and balances required by the constitution, [accused’s’] lawyers said in a court filing.

Because the SEC is in an even better position—its in-house position—to effectively “encourage” proper testimony from its “cooperating” witnesses than are prosecutors in actual State or Federal trial courts.

Naturally, the presiding SEC administrative judge demurs.

The SEC in-house judge overseeing the case rejected this argument, saying it was an “attack on the administrative framework” of the SEC’s internal tribunal.

Well, NSS. It’s a valid attack, too, against a tribunal sorely lacking in fairness, much less due process.

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