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August 23, 2017

Federal district judge finds due process problems with Indiana's forfeiture procedures

As reported in this local article, a "federal judge has issued an order that partially halts the police seizure of vehicles in Indiana drug cases and other related crimes, calling the seizure of vehicles before an official forfeiture action unconstitutional." Here are the basics and the context of the ruling:

U.S. District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled that Indiana's forfeiture law violates the due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. "The Court concludes that the statutory provisions allowing for the seizure and retention of vehicles without providing an opportunity for an individual to challenge the pre-forfeiture deprivation are unconstitutional," Stinson ruled

The order comes as the Indiana legislature reexamines the state's forfeiture laws in an interim study committee. Under Indiana law, law enforcement can hold a vehicle for up to six months. If the state decides to file a forfeiture claim against the vehicle within the first 180 days, the vehicle is held indefinitely until the case is concluded, which can often be several additional months, according to court documents. ​

The full 35-page opinion in this matter is available at this link, and it gets started this way:

This matter involves a challenge to Indiana’s civil forfeiture statute, specifically as it applies to the seizure and pre-forfeiture retention of vehicles.  Plaintiff Leroy Washington, on behalf of himself and a putative class of plaintiffs, contends that Indiana’s statute violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.  Mr. Washington argues that the statute allows law enforcement officers to seize and hold vehicles based on an officer’s probable cause determination for up to six months without judicial oversight and without allowing individuals the opportunity to challenge that seizure and deprivation -- in other words without a post-seizure, pre-forfeiture hearing. In his Motion for Summary Judgment, Mr. Washington requests a declaratory judgment that the statute is unconstitutional, and a permanent injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing the statute.  For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that Indiana Code Section 34-24-1-1(a)(1), as read in conjunction with the statutory provisions of the same chapter, violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court therefore permanently enjoins Defendants from enforcing that statutory provision.

August 23, 2017 at 10:19 AM | Permalink


Off with their heads!! 😆

Posted by: Queen of Hearts | Aug 23, 2017 7:12:00 PM

Of, course, it is unconstitutional. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also raised the requirement before it can take place.


However, I hope the coming avalanche of such state court decisions does not fully derail this practice.

I offered a lawyer $$,$$$ for the filing of a non-frivolous writ of mandamus to make the US DOJ seize, in civil forfeiture, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Twitter. Thousands, if not millions, of crimes have been committed on their platforms. I do not care if he can do it in an hour, since it would be so easy to document their criminality.

Come on lawyer profession, get serious. Stop kidding around, seizing the houses and cars of grandmas in poor neighborhoods. A law school classmate sued Twitter on behalf of families of some of the victims of the Orlando massacre for Twitter's part in the conspiracy behind the massacre.

My classmate has not listened to my theory, and is not doing well. The CDA of 1996 Section 230 states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” However, by analogy, the phone company does not monitor phone calls. The moderation of comments waives that immunity, and makes the platforms publishers, since the communications are edited. They are not moderated by the telephone company, if we plan a robbery on the phone.

This is why Prof. Berman should stop telling me to lower the vitriol. That request waives his Section 230 immunity from any crime committed on this platform, in my personal opinion. This is not legal advice.

Posted by: David Behar | Aug 24, 2017 6:05:04 AM

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