Garcia-Mendoza v. 2003 Chevy TahoeAnnotate this Case
Appellant was stopped by police officers while driving in a 2003 Chevy Tahoe on suspicion that he did not have a valid driver’s license. Appellant was subsequently issued a traffic citation. The officers proceeded to conduct an inventory search of the Tahoe and found 225 grams of methamphetamine. The officers then searched Appellant and found $611 in cash. Appellant was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance. The vehicle and cash were seized, and Appellant was served with notice and intent to forfeit the seized property. Appellant filed a civil complaint demanding a judicial determination of forfeiture, arguing that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule applies to civil forfeiture actions and that the evidence supporting forfeiture was illegally obtained and must be suppressed. The district court granted summary judgment for the County. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule does not apply to civil forfeiture actions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the exclusionary rule is applicable to civil forfeiture actions brought under Minn. Stat. 609.531-.5319; and (2) Appellant had standing to challenge the forfeiture of the vehicle and cash. Remanded.