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United States v. Jordan

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


April 17, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DOUGLAS JERMAINE JORDAN, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Presently pending before the Court is a motion by Defendant, Douglas Jermaine Jordan, to return seized property and suppress evidence.

On April 18, 2006, Defendant pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute more than fifty grams of cocaine base and more than five hundred grams of cocaine from August 2005 to December 2005. [Doc. No. 151]. He was subsequently sentenced to 160 months imprisonment on August 1, 2006. [Doc. No. 208]. Defendant's appeal of his sentence is currently pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals at Docket Number 06-3700. [Doc. No. 212]. Defendant's current motion before this Court seeks the return of a 1996 Cadillac vehicle.*fn1

It is well settled that the Government may seize evidence for use in investigation and trial, but it must return the property once the criminal proceedings have concluded, unless it is contraband or subject to forfeiture. United States v. Bein, 214 F.3d 408, 411 (3rd Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). A motion filed pursuant to Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure is the appropriate vehicle to request the return of such property.*fn2 United States v. Chambers, 192 F.3d 374, 376 (3rd Cir. 1999). A district court has jurisdiction to entertain the motion even after the termination of criminal proceedings against the defendant and such an action is treated as a civil proceeding for equitable relief. Bein, 214 F.3d at 411.

In its response, the Government notes that the vehicle Defendant seeks to have returned is currently the subject of a pending forfeiture action in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania. Government's Response p. 3. On February 23, 2007, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, filed a Petition for Forfeiture and Condemnation against the vehicle and $1002.00 in cash. Government's Respone, Exhibit 1. This action is docketed at Erie County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Action - In Rem number MD 85-07. Id. The Honorable Shad Connelly has issued a Rule to Show Cause requiring Defendant or one of his co-conspirators, to file an answer to the petition within 30 days. Id. Because the vehicle is, in fact, the subject of a pending forfeiture action in state court, we shall deny the Defendant's motion seeking its return.

AND NOW, this 17th day of April, 2007, in accordance with the foregoing Memorandum Order, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Defendant's Motion for Return of Seized Property and Suppression of Evidence [Doc. No. 293] is DENIED.

Sean J. McLaughlin United States District Judge


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