West Covina v. Perkins, 971230

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtKennedy
Citation119 S.Ct. 678,142 L.Ed.2d 636,525 U.S. 234
Parties113 F.3d 1004, reversed and remanded. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES1230 CITY OF WEST COVINA, PETITIONER v. LAWRENCE PERKINS et al. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT [
Docket Number971230
Decision Date13 January 1999

525 U.S. 234
119 S.Ct. 678
142 L.Ed.2d 636

113 F.3d 1004, reversed and remanded.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

No. 97 1230

CITY OF WEST COVINA, PETITIONER
v.
LAWRENCE PERKINS et al.

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

[January 13, 1999]

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court.

We consider in this case whether the Constitution requires a State or its local entities to give detailed and specific instructions or advice to owners who seek return of property lawfully seized but no longer needed for police investigation or criminal prosecution. Interpreting the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit imposed a series of specific notice requirements on the city responsible for the seizure. We conclude these requirements are not mandated by the Due Process Clause, and we reverse.

I

The case began when police officers of petitioner, the City of West Covina, California, acting in accordance with law and pursuant to a valid search warrant, seized personal property. The property belonged to the owner of the searched home, respondent Lawrence Perkins, and to his family. The suspect in the crime was neither Perkins nor anyone in his family, but one Marcus Marsh. Marsh had been a boarder in the Perkins' home. After leaving their home, and unknown to them, he became the subject of a homicide investigation.

During the search of respondents' home for evidence incriminating Marsh, the police seized a number of items, including photos of Marsh, an address book, a 12-gauge shotgun, a starter pistol, ammunition, and $2,629 in cash. 113 F.3d 1004, 1006 (CA9 1997). At the conclusion of the search, the officers left respondents a form entitled "Search Warrant: Notice of Service," which stated:

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

"1. THESE PREMISES HAVE BEEN SEARCHED BY PEACE OFFICERS OF THE (name of searching agency) West Covina Police DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO A SEARCH WARRANT ISSUED ON (date) 5 20 93, BY THE HONORABLE (name of magistrate) Dan Oki, JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR/MUNICIPAL COURT, Citrus JUDICIAL DISTRICT.

"2. THE SEARCH WAS CONDUCTED ON (date) 5-21-93. A LIST OF THE PROPERTY SEIZED PURSUANT TO THE SEARCH WARRANT IS ATTACHED.

"3. IF YOU WISH FURTHER INFORMATION, YOU MAY CONTACT:

(name of investigator) Det. Ferrari or Det. Melnyk AT [telephone number].

"LT. SCHIMANSKI [telephone number]." App. 76 77 (italicized characters represent those portions of the original document which were handwritten on the form).

In accordance with the Notice, the officers also left respondents an itemized list of the property seized. 113 F.3d, at 1011 1012. The officers did not leave the search warrant number because the warrant was under seal to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation. Id., at 1007. In a public index maintained by the court clerk, however, the issuance of the warrant was recorded by the address of the home searched and the search warrant number. Ibid.

Not long after the search, Perkins called Ferrari, one of the detectives listed on the Notice, and inquired about return of the seized property. No. CV 93 7084 SVW (CD Cal., July 8, 1996), App. to Pet. for Cert. E 3. One of the detectives told Perkins he needed to obtain a court order authorizing the property's return. Ibid.

About a month after the search, Perkins went to the Citrus Municipal Court to see Judge Oki, who had issued the warrant. He learned Judge Oki was on vacation. Ibid. He tried to have another judge release his property but was told the court had nothing under Perkins' name. Ibid.

Rather than continuing to pursue a court order releasing the property by filing a written motion with the court, making other inquiries, or returning to the courthouse at some later date, ibid., respondents filed suit in United States District Court against the City and the officers who conducted the search. They alleged the officers had violated their Fourth Amendment rights by conducting a search without probable cause and exceeding the scope of the warrant. App. 7 9. They further alleged that the City had a policy of permitting unlawful searches. Id., at 10.

The District Court granted summary judgment for the City and its officers. App. to Pet. for Cert. B1 B11. The court, however, invited supplemental briefing on an issue respondents had not raised: whether available remedies for the return of seized property were adequate to satisfy due process. Id., at B 7. The parties submitted briefs on the issue, but the court did not rule on it. Respondents appealed the District Court's holding on their Fourth Amendment claims, but the Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court for resolution of the due process question. No. 94 56365 (CA9, Apr. 30, 1996), App. to Pet. for Cert. D1 D3.

The District Court held on remand that the remedies provided by California law for return of the seized property satisfied due process, and it granted summary judgment for the City. No. CV...

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  • Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. SFR Invs. Pool 1, LLC, No. 16-15962
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 25, 2018
    ...FHFA. See Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill , 470 U.S. 532, 542, 105 S.Ct. 1487, 84 L.Ed.2d 494 (1985) ; City of W. Covina v. Perkins , 525 U.S. 234, 242, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999). SFR’s argument fails. Due process is a flexible concept, and the procedural protections it dem......
  • In re Cochener, No. 01-34884-H4-7.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 28, 2007
    ...is pending and can choose for himself whether to appear or default, acquiesce or contest." Id. See also City of West Covina v. Perkins, 525 U.S. 234, 119 S.Ct. 678, 681, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) ("A primary purpose of the notice required by the Due Process Clause is to ensure that the opportu......
  • American Civil Lib. Union v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, No. CIV.A.02-2077 ESH.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • May 19, 2003
    ...in the Constitution as well) that notice be provided at the time that property is actually taken. Cf. City of West Covina v. Perkins, 525 U.S. 234, 240, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) (suggesting that "when law enforcement agents seize property pursuant to warrant, due process requir......
  • Martell v. City of St. Albans, Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-93-jmc
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • February 21, 2020
    ...the existence of a publicly available statute may be sufficient to provide the required notice. See, e.g. , City of W. Covina v. Perkins , 525 U.S. 234, 241, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) (holding that, once the owner of personal property has been informed that his property has been......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
141 cases
  • Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. SFR Invs. Pool 1, LLC, No. 16-15962
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 25, 2018
    ...FHFA. See Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill , 470 U.S. 532, 542, 105 S.Ct. 1487, 84 L.Ed.2d 494 (1985) ; City of W. Covina v. Perkins , 525 U.S. 234, 242, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999). SFR’s argument fails. Due process is a flexible concept, and the procedural protections it dem......
  • In re Cochener, No. 01-34884-H4-7.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 28, 2007
    ...pending and can choose for himself whether to appear or default, acquiesce or contest." Id. See also City of West Covina v. Perkins, 525 U.S. 234, 119 S.Ct. 678, 681, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) ("A primary purpose of the notice required by the Due Process Clause is to ensure that the ......
  • American Civil Lib. Union v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, No. CIV.A.02-2077 ESH.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • May 19, 2003
    ...in the Constitution as well) that notice be provided at the time that property is actually taken. Cf. City of West Covina v. Perkins, 525 U.S. 234, 240, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) (suggesting that "when law enforcement agents seize property pursuant to warrant, due process r......
  • Martell v. City of St. Albans, Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-93-jmc
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • February 21, 2020
    ...the existence of a publicly available statute may be sufficient to provide the required notice. See, e.g. , City of W. Covina v. Perkins , 525 U.S. 234, 241, 119 S.Ct. 678, 142 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999) (holding that, once the owner of personal property has been informed that his property has been......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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