Nevada’s Circuit Court ruled that a prolonged 30-minute police pull-over by a citizen and the proceeding second pull-over to seize the driver’s cash violated the 4th amendment and that the money had to be returned to the driver.
“The government concedes that Gorman’s roadside detention following his first stop – the stop initiated by Monroe on the basis of the left-lane violation – was unreasonably prolonged in violation of the Fourth Amendment. […]. Monroe performed non-routine investigative inquiries and questioned Gorman about matters unrelated to the traffic infraction. These actions and inquiries fell beyond the scope of the stop’s ‘mission’,” stated the court in its opinion.
In 2013, Straughn Gorman was pulled over by a police officer who noticed that he was carrying $167,000 in cash. Since the background check performed by the officer found no prior arrests or warrants, he let Gorman go, but then proceeded to contact the Nevada Highway Patrol to pull over Gorman again because he suspected that the money was from drugs.
The driver was pulled over again and had his money along with other possessions seized by the police.
This isn’t the first instance unlawful cash seizure, as another Nevada citizen had $50,000 of casino winnings seized by police after being pulled over for driving three miles over the speed limit. Unfortunately, this case was settled and therefore did not affect the state’s asset forfeiture laws.
With the recent news of Colorado’s Governor signing a Civil Asset Forfeiture reform bill, it seems that more and more states are realizing the abuses of police when seizing citizens property for “evidence.” This practice of violating citizen’s rights and police overreach should end immediately and be declared unconstitutional. Hopefully, these steps are in the right direction to meet that result.