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Collateral Estoppel and Benefits Fraud Prosecutions

People v. Garcia

By Gary F. Smith

Legal aid advocates and indigent criminal defense attorneys in California worked together to protect a welfare recipient from criminal prosecution for fraud and perjury. Applying the doctrine of collateral estoppel, the attorneys kept state prosecutors from convicting someone who had been cleared by an administrative law judge from wrongdoing in connection with an overpayment of benefits.

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