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Alvarez v. Smith

Close Date: 12/08/2009
Status: open
Citation: 524 F.3d 834
Date Of Involvement: 09/15/2008
Docket: 08-351


Due Proces: Forfeiture

Plaintiffs, individuals whose property had been seized under Illinois’s Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act (DAFPA), brought a class action § 1983 suit against Cook County State’s Attorney, the City of Chicago, and the Superintendent of Police, arguing that DAFPA violated their constitutional right to due process. The plaintiffs argued that the Act permitted plaintiffs to be deprived of their personal property, including vehicles, without any hearing for too long. The Seventh Circuit agreed. The question presented by the defendant city officials is:

In determining whether the Due Process Clause requires a state or local government to provide a post-seizure probable cause hearing prior to a statutory judicial forfeiture proceeding and, if so, when such a hearing must take place, should district courts apply the “speedy trial” test employed in United States v. $8,850, 461 U.S. 555 (1983), and Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972), or the three-part due process test set forth in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976)?