U.S. v. James Daniel Good Real Property, et al., No. 92-1180

CourtU.S. Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice Kennedy
PartiesUNITED STATES, PETITIONER v. JAMES DANIEL GOOD REAL PROPERTY ET AL
Docket NumberNo. 92-1180
Decision Date13 December 1993
UNITED STATES, PETITIONER
v.
JAMES DANIEL GOOD REAL PROPERTY ET AL

No. 92-1180

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

510 U.S. 43

114 S. Ct. 492

October 6, 1993, Argued

December 13, 1993, Decided


ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

971 F.2d 1376, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Fifth Amendment's due process clause held generally to prohibit Federal Government from seizing real property in civil forfeiture, pursuant to 21 USCS 881(a)(7), without prior notice and hearing.

Edwin S. Kneedler argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Days, Acting Solicitor General Bryson, and Acting Assistant Attorney General Keeney.

Christopher J. Yuen argued the cause and filed a brief for respondents.

A brief of amici curiae urging reversal was filed for the State of Kentucky et al. by Chris Gorman, Attorney General, and David A. Sexton, Assistant Attorney General, Malaetasi Togafau, Attorney General of American Samoa, Grant Woods, Attorney General of Arizona, Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General of California, Domenick J. Galluzzo, Acting Chief State's Attorney of Connecticut, Pamela Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, Robert T. Stephan, Attorney General of Kansas, Richard P. Ieyoub, Attorney General of Louisiana, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General of Maryland, Scott Harshbarger, Attorney General of Massachusetts, Frank J. Kelley, Attorney General of Michigan, Mike Moore, Attorney General of Mississippi, Joseph P. Mazurek, Attorney General of Montana, Don Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska, Jeffrey R. Howard, Attorney General of New Hampshire, Tom Udall, Attorney General of New Mexico, Heidi Heitkamp, Attorney General of North Dakota, Ernest D. Preate, Jr., Attorney General of Pennsylvania, and Joseph B. Myer, Attorney General of Wyoming.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Steven Alan Reiss, Richard A. Rothman, Katherine Oberlies, Steven R. Shapiro, and John A. Powell; for the Institute for Justice by William H. Mellor III and Clint Bolick; and for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers by Richard J. Troberman and E. E. Edwards III.

JUDGES: KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court with respect to Parts I and III, and the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts II and IV, in which BLACKMUN, STEVENS, SOUTER, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which SCALIA, J., joined, and in which O'CONNOR, J., joined as to Parts II and III, post, p. 65. O'CONNOR, J., post, p. 73, and THOMAS, J., post, p. 80, filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part.

KENNEDY

[46] [497] JUSTICE KENNEDY delivered the opinion of the Court.

The principal question presented is whether, in the absence of exigent circumstances, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the Government in a civil forfeiture case from seizing real property without first affording the owner notice and an opportunity to be heard. We hold that it does.

A second issue in the case concerns the timeliness of the forfeiture action. We hold that filing suit for forfeiture within the statute of limitations suffices to make the action timely, and that the cause should not be dismissed for failure to comply with certain other statutory directives for expeditious prosecution in forfeiture cases.

I

On January 31, 1985, Hawaii police officers executed a search warrant at the home of claimant James Daniel Good. The search uncovered about 89 pounds of marijuana, marijuana seeds, vials containing hashish oil, and drug paraphernalia. About six months later, Good pleaded guilty to promoting a harmful drug in the second degree, in violation of Hawaii law. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1245(1)(b) (1985). He was sentenced to one year in jail and five years' probation, and fined $ 1,000. Good was also required to forfeit to the State $ 3,187 in cash found on the premises.

On August 8, 1989, 4 1/2 years after the drugs were found, the United States filed an in rem action in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, seeking to forfeit Good's house and the 4-acre parcel on which it was situated. The United States sought forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7), on the ground that the property had been used to commit or facilitate the commission of a federal drug offense. n1

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - -

n1 Title 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7) provides:

"(a) . . .

"The following shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States and no property right shall exist in them:

"(7) All real property, including any right, title, and interest (including any leasehold interest) in the whole of any lot or tract of land and any appurtenances or improvements, which is used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a violation of this subchapter punishable by more than one year's imprisonment, except that no property shall be forfeited under this paragraph, to the extent of an interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by that owner to have been committed or omitted without the knowledge or consent of that owner."

- - - - - - - - - - - - End Footnotes- - - - - - - - -

[47] On August 18, 1989, in an ex parte proceeding, a United States Magistrate Judge found that the Government had established probable cause to believe Good's property was subject to forfeiture under § 881(a)(7). A warrant of arrest in rem was issued, authorizing seizure of the property. The warrant was based on an affidavit recounting the fact of Good's conviction and the evidence discovered during the January 1985 search of his home by Hawaii police.

[498] The Government seized the property on August 21, 1989, without prior notice to Good or an adversary hearing. At the time of the seizure, Good was renting his home to tenants for $ 900 per month. The Government permitted the tenants to remain on the premises subject to an occupancy agreement, but directed the payment of future rents to the United States Marshal.

Good filed a claim for the property and an answer to the Government's complaint. He asserted that the seizure deprived him of his property without due process of law and that the forfeiture action was invalid because it had not been timely commenced under the statute. The District Court granted the Government's motion for summary judgment and entered an order forfeiting the property.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. 971 F.2d 1376 (1992). The court was unanimous in holding that the seizure of Good's property, without prior notice and a hearing, violated the Due Process Clause.

[48] In a divided decision, the Court of Appeals further held that the District Court erred in finding the action timely. The Court of Appeals ruled that the 5-year statute of limitations in 19 U.S.C. § 1621 is only an "outer limit" for filing a forfeiture action, and that further limits are imposed by 19 U.S.C. §§ 1602-1604. 971 F.2d at 1378-1382. Those provisions, the court reasoned, impose a "series of internal notification and reporting requirements," under which "customs agents must report to customs officers, customs officers must report to the United States attorney, and the Attorney General must 'immediately' and 'forthwith' bring a forfeiture action if he believes that one is warranted." Id., at 1379 (citations omitted). The Court of Appeals ruled that failure to comply with these internal reporting rules could require dismissal of the forfeiture action as untimely. The court remanded the case for a determination whether the Government had satisfied its obligation to make prompt reports. Id., at 1382.

We granted certiorari, 507 U.S. 983 (1993), to resolve a conflict among the Courts of Appeals on the constitutional question presented. Compare United States v. Premises and Real Property at 4492 South Livonia Road, 889 F.2d 1258 (CA2 1989), with United States v. A Single Family Residence and Real Property, 803 F.2d 625 (CA11 1986). We now affirm the due process ruling and reverse the ruling on the timeliness question.

II

The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment guarantees that "no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Our precedents establish the general rule that individuals must receive notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Government deprives them of property. See United States v. $ 8,850, 461 U.S. 555, 562, n.12, 103 S. Ct. 2005, 76 L. Ed. 2d 143 (1983); Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 82, 32 L. Ed. 2d 556, 92 S. Ct. 1983 (1972); Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. of Bay View, [49] 395 U.S. 337, 342, 23 L. Ed. 2d 349, 89 S. Ct. 1820 (1969) (Harlan, J., concurring); Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313, 94 L. Ed. 865, 70 S. Ct. 652 (1950).

The Government does not, and could not, dispute that the seizure of Good's home and 4-acre parcel deprived him of property interests protected by the Due Process Clause. By the Government's own submission, the seizure gave it the right to charge rent, to condition occupancy, and even to evict the occupants. Instead, the Government argues that it afforded Good all the process the Constitution requires. The Government makes two separate points in this regard. First, it contends that compliance with the Fourth Amendment suffices when the Government seizes property for purposes of forfeiture. In the alternative, it argues that the seizure of real property under the drug forfeiture laws justifies an exception to the usual due process requirement of preseizure [499] notice and hearing. We turn to these issues.

A

The Government argues that because civil forfeiture serves a "law enforcement purpose," Brief for United...

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  • Dolan v. US, No. 09-367.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 20, 2010
    ..."federal courts will not in the ordinary course impose their own coercive sanction." United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property, 510 U.S. 43, 63, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993); see also Montalvo-Murillo, supra, at 717-721, 110 S.Ct. 2072. Cf., e.g., Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C.......
  • Transpacific Steel LLC v. United States, 2020-2157
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • July 13, 2021
    ...the grant of power can sensibly be read to expire when the job is supposed to be done"); United States v. James Daniel Good Real Prop. , 510 U.S. 43, 63, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993) ("[I]f a statute does not specify a consequence for noncompliance 4 F.4th 1321 with statutory timin......
  • Love v. City of Monterey, No. H012606
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 3, 1995
    ...P.2d 1249; our emphasis.) Love cites other cases in support of this principle, including U.S. v. James Daniel Good Real Property (1993) 510 U.S. 43, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 [37 Cal.App.4th 574] (Good ). Good applied the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to a federal governmen......
  • EZAGUI v. The City of N.Y., No. 09 Civ. 5628(PGG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 24, 2010
    ...Ford Motor Credit Co. v. N.Y. City Police Dep't, 503 F.3d 186, 194 (2d Cir.2007) (citing United States v. James Daniel Good Real Prop., 510 U.S. 43, 54, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993) (noting that “Good was renting his home to tenants,” but explaining that even if “the tangible effec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
821 cases
  • Dolan v. US, No. 09-367.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 20, 2010
    ..."federal courts will not in the ordinary course impose their own coercive sanction." United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property, 510 U.S. 43, 63, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993); see also Montalvo-Murillo, supra, at 717-721, 110 S.Ct. 2072. Cf., e.g., Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C.......
  • Transpacific Steel LLC v. United States, 2020-2157
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • July 13, 2021
    ...the grant of power can sensibly be read to expire when the job is supposed to be done"); United States v. James Daniel Good Real Prop. , 510 U.S. 43, 63, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993) ("[I]f a statute does not specify a consequence for noncompliance 4 F.4th 1321 with statutory timin......
  • Love v. City of Monterey, No. H012606
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 3, 1995
    ...P.2d 1249; our emphasis.) Love cites other cases in support of this principle, including U.S. v. James Daniel Good Real Property (1993) 510 U.S. 43, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 [37 Cal.App.4th 574] (Good ). Good applied the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to a federal governmen......
  • EZAGUI v. The City of N.Y., No. 09 Civ. 5628(PGG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 24, 2010
    ...Ford Motor Credit Co. v. N.Y. City Police Dep't, 503 F.3d 186, 194 (2d Cir.2007) (citing United States v. James Daniel Good Real Prop., 510 U.S. 43, 54, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993) (noting that “Good was renting his home to tenants,” but explaining that even if “the tangible effec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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