Cash Seizure Ruled Unconstitutional in Nevada

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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.


Author: Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016 (after discovering Gary Johnson as a disaffected Bernie Sanders supporter), Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism, and political activism. At the beginning of 2017, Luke had his first piece of writing published by Being Libertarian and quickly became a contributor to the libertarian news site, The Libertarian Vindicator. Through the Vindicator, Luke discovered his passion for addressing critics of the philosophy and bringing together different factions of liberty lovers which compelled him to become an editor for The Libertarian Coalition, a forum dedicated to an open-minded discussion of libertarian ideas from all walks. After many guest contributions to Being Libertarian, Luke was asked to join the website as a contributor, where he writes his column Scoring For Liberty, which discusses sports, politics, and economics from a libertarian lens, and his Educator series that seeks to strengthen libertarian’s understanding of educational techniques and policy to better arguments against public education. Luke is one of the District 1 Executive Committeemen for the Missouri Libertarian party, and the founder of the Missouri Chapter of the Libertarian Positivity Caucus. Outside of politics, Luke is a paraprofessional for the Special School District of St. Louis, a musician, composer, and a loving husband and father.

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