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Federal Forfeiture Motions are Civil, Subject to PLRA

Federal Forfeiture Motions Are Civil, Subject to PLRA

The federal prisoner in Wisconsin filed a motion contesting a forfeiture of property in his
criminal case.

At 696: The motion is a civil action subject to the PLRA, even though it
was filed in the criminal case, just as is a Rule 41(g) motion for the
return of property. "The civil nature of the present case is even clearer,
since it is a challenge to an administrative forfeiture. Though it seeks
relief similar to that of a Rule 41(g) motion namely the return of
property it is not founded on that rule."

The prisoner did not get adequate notice of the forfeiture on this record.
The Drug Enforcement Administration mailed notice to two addresses, one of
which the DEA had been told was vacant; both letters were returned
undelivered. They didn't send it to the address on his drivers' license.
Later, they learned that he was in jail in Minnesota but didn't give him
notice there. See: U.S. v. Howell, 354 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. 2004).

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