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News
August 26, 2014

S.E.C.’s “Rocket Docket” System Challenged

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s “rocket docket” system of resolving penal cases in an administrative venue has faced recent challenges, according to an article in The New York Times today.

The S.E.C.’s administrative proceedings require that even complex securities law cases are to be decided within 300 days of their filing. Rules for discovery limit evidence to that which the agency gathered through its investigation, the proceedings are decided by an administrative judge from within the S.E.C., and any appeal is reviewed by a body of internal commissioners before it gets to a federal court.

Former assistant director of enforcement at the S.E.C., Russell G. Ryan, recently commented that “today’s model of penal S.E.C. law enforcement is categorically unsuited for rushed and truncated administrative hearings in which the agency and its own employees serve as prosecutor, judge, and punisher.”

The practice is being challenged by two defendants who argue the S.E.C. should be more transparent about its reasons for re-offering cases to the administrative forum.

Read the full article here.

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