Judge Threatens to Jail North Carolina Town Officials for Seizing Man’s Money, Refusing To Return It
A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they seized out of a man’s rental car during an investigation.
It looks as though an asset forfeiture attempt by police in Mooresville, North Carolina, has gone awry, and we should all cheer Iredell County District Court Judge Christine Underwood on as she tries to hold officials to account.
According to media reports from the Mooresville Tribune and news station WSOCTV, Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in the town in November when he left his room and found police searching his car. Police say they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash. They seized both, charged Sanders with misdemeanor drug possession, but then sent the cash to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
When Sanders lawyered up and attempted to fight to get the cash back, claiming that the money had no relationship to the crime involved, Mooresville responded that it was no longer in possession of the cash and therefore was not responsible for giving the money back.
This did not sit well with Underwood, and according to Sanders’ lawyer, Ashley Cannon, Mooresville officials cut a cashier’s check for the cash to send it to CBP just one day before the judge ruled against the town and ordered it to return the money.
But the city did not. And so, several months later, on Feb. 10, the case came back to Underwood, and she held up the previous ruling and ordered Mooresville to “give this man his money.” She found the city in contempt of her order and is giving them
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