Honestly, I can't be sure as I am a criminal
rather than a civil lawyer. I've had clients with forfeiture issues and know how those issues arose and under what statutory authority. But from there, I sent them to civil lawyers and concentrated on the criminal case.
However, as you have read, the Feds have the authority to take your home and dispose of it any number of ways and they would have taken it whether or not you'd signed the paperwork. What you gave up was the right to a hearing that -- the Federal Government being what it is and the case against you still a problem for you -- you'd probably be unable to win anyway. I'm speaking realistically. These civil forfeiture laws, whether it's the state or the Federal government, whether it's your house, your car, or your computers
, or what have you are great sources of revenue for the government. Typically there is only a small window of opportunity to challenge these things and it usually ends up cheaper not to.
Don't let me discourage you though. You have what seems like a valid argument about a lack of due process if you were denied what you needed to make a fully rational decision. You might be entitled, if not to the house back then to some financial compensation for their having stepped on your rights. On the other hand, you'd probably need a full acquittal to prevail. So once again, all I can tell you is to put your energies into the criminal issue. What happens there could have a bearing on any civil suit, anyway.
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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.
Edited by FranL on 6/5/2010 at 2:05 AM EST