Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 01:00
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The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act: We're All in the Same Boat

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM (EDT)

This presentation will provide a broad overview of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA), along with a discussion of recent developments under the statute and litigation tips. The presentation will begin with a discussion of the "Felonies on the high Seas" Clause under Article I, Section 8, Clause 10 of the U.S. CONST., and the limitations that clause places on the United States' ability to arrest and prosecute foreign nationals for drug trafficking offenses at sea. The presentation will include a discussion of challenges to the statute that have been raised in the circuit courts, as well as recurring topics including pre-indictment delay and sentencing issues.


Nicole Valdes Hardin is an assistant federal defender in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. She is an author of "Uncovering the Secrecy of Stingrays: What Every Practitioner Needs to Know", in the ABA's Criminal Justice Magazine (Winter 2018) and co-author of "The Myth of Cell Tower Tracking" with Cherry, Imwinkelreid, and Romano (Los Angeles Journal, November 2011). While in law school she interned with the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York. Ms. Hardin is board certified in the area of criminal trial law and serves on the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee of the Florida Bar. She previously worked as a state assistant public defender in Florida, as second chair in death penalty cases and assisted in revising the statewide training manual for public defenders.

Tracy Dreispul is the Deputy Chief of Appeals at the Federal Public Defender's Office for the Southern District of Florida. She is the author of chapters on the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act in the 3rd and 4th editions of Cultural Issues in Criminal Defense (Linda Friedman Ramirez ed., 2010, and Ama N. Appiah ed., 2015). Prior to joining the Appellate Division of the FPD's office in Miami, Tracy worked as an AFPD in the Middle District of Florida and as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, in New York. She began her career by serving as a law clerk to the late William L. Garwood, Senior Circuit Judge, on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She received her B.A. and J.D., both with high honors, from the University of Florida.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) accreditation for this program will be sought in all applicable jurisdictions. Additional CLE information will be available after the conclusion of this program.