Monday, March 13, 2017

Omidi v. United States (9th Cir. - March 13, 2017)

The Ninth Circuit today rejects a challenge to a judicial forfeiture proceeding in which the U.S. seized some money from appellants.  It resolves the case fairly easily:

"The district court construed the appellants’ motion for return of the seized funds as a motion under Rule 41(g). The appellants could have challenged in that proceeding the lawfulness of the government’s seizure (and retention) of the $100 million. They could have argued, for example, that the seized funds lack any connection to criminal wrongdoing and thus are not subject to forfeiture, or that the government’s lengthy delay in initiating judicial forfeiture proceedings violates their due process rights. But they raised no such arguments. They instead asserted as the sole basis for relief a violation of the notice deadline imposed by § 983(a)(1)(A), a provision which, as we have explained, simply does not apply in this case."

You knew about the seizure immediately once it transpired, and say on appeal only that there's also a statute that says that the government has to give you formal notice of the seizure within 60 days, but that statute doesn't apply.  That's a pretty straightforward resolution.

Ordinarily, such a resolution might not even merit special mention.  Appellant makes an argument, it's not a very good one, and it gets rejected.

But here's the somewhat unusual fact:

The seizure at issue involved the United States seizing $100 million.

For that amount of money at stake, you'd think that the appellant might be able to come up with some better arguments on appeal.