Civil Forfeiture Post-Seizure Hearing Required to Protect Due Process Right, Court Rules
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Oct. 27 that a civil forfeiture claimant facing a parallel criminal prosecution had a 5th Amendment due process right to have a hearing on probable cause after the seizure (U.S. v. Michelle's Lounge, CA7, No. 92-3235, Oct. 27, 1994; 56 CrL 1145). The claimant had lost all assets in the forfeiture such that he was unable to pay for representation in a parallel criminal proceeding. This case analyzes the scope of due process required when a civil forfeiture seizure of assets impinges on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.