Indiana marijuana case leads to courts restricting police seizures

INDIANAPOLIS — Two court rulings have limited police seizures in the state of Indiana.

U.S. District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson has partially halted the seizure of vehicles in drug cases and related crimes in the state. She said state law violates due process because it doesn’t allow individuals to challenge a forfeiture before property is seized.

State law allows law enforcement to hold a vehicle without taking action for up to 180 days. If the state does file a forfeiture claim, the vehicle can be held indefinitely until the case is completed.

Leroy Washington was arrested and charged with resisting law enforcement, obstruction of justice and dealing marijuana. His vehicle was seized in September, and Washington requested the vehicle be returned in November.

Jeff Cardella, a professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the state on behalf of Washington in November.

“This is an injustice that I have wanted to…

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