Feds fight court order to return seized cash to citizen who was never charged with anything

Feds fight court order to return seized cash to citizen who was never charged with anything

[Ed. – There must be more to this story.  What I don’t get is how the feds ended up with his cash to begin with, if he was stopped first by a state trooper and then by a county sheriff.]

Federal prosecutors are battling in court to keep $167,000 in cash seized in a 2013 traffic stop, despite the motorist never being charged in the incident and the Obama administration clamped down this spring on such asset seizures and forfeitures.

The case — which highlights the ongoing concerns about the government unjustly seizing money and property — began when a Nevada state trooper pulled over the motorist on a cross-country trip to California.

The trooper stopped Hawaii resident Straughn Gorman’s motor-home in January 2013 for allegedly going too slow along Interstate 80.

According to court documents, Gorman was allowed to proceed without a citation despite the trooper suspecting he was hiding cash.

The trooper said he couldn’t inspect the vehicle because he would have needed a canine unit and for the dog to detect drugs, which would have created enough probable cause to get a search warrant. …

[T]he trooper released Gorman but not before requesting the county sheriff’s office stop him again — about 50 minutes later and this time with a drug-sniffing dog.

No drugs were found during the second stop, in which Gorman was pulled over for two alleged traffic violation. But his vehicle, computer, cellphone and the cash, stashed throughout the vehicle, were seized.

In June, a federal judge in Nevada ordered Gorman’s cash be returned.

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