Which Test is it Anyway? Civil Asset Forfeiture and the Right to a Prompt Post-Seizure Hearing at the High Court.

The Court will hear argument on Monday, October 30, 2023, in Culley v. Marshall. Petitioners Halima Culley and Lena Sutton contend police seized their vehicles and held those vehicles for more than a year without judicial oversight. The Respondents assert that those vehicles were seized because they were being used to traffic narcotics and then Petitioners sat on their rights. Ultimately, the state court denied the Petitioners a post-seizure hearing based on the Sixth Amendment speedy-trial test of Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972). The Petitioners contend the court employed the wrong test and they should have received a prompt post-seizure hearing under the Due Process Clause.

Accordingly, the Question Presented in the case is: “In determining whether the Due Process Clause requires a state or local government to provide a post seizure probable cause hearing prior to a statutory judicial forfeiture proceeding and, if so, when such a hearing must take place, should district courts apply the “speedy trial” test employed in United States v. $8,850, 461 U.S. 555 (1983), and Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972), as held by the Eleventh Circuit or the three-part due process analysis set forth in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), as held by at least the Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.”

Stef Cassella, CEO of Asset Forfeiture Law, LLC, and Robert Johnson, Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice, joined us for an an exciting preview of the oral argument in Culley. The discussion was moderated by Adam Griffin, Constitutional Litigation Fellow at Pacific Legal Foundation.


Stefan Cassella, CEO, Asset Forfeitrure Law, LLC
Robert Johnson, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
Moderator: Adam Griffin, Constitutional Litigation Fellow, Pacific Legal Foundation

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