Judge supports denying rehearing, but disagrees with colleagues’ rationale

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for rehearing and for a rehearing en banc after the court originally upheld the seizure of thousands of dollars following a traffic stop. But one judge did write to explain that she disagreed with her fellow panel members’ rationale for originally affirming the seizure.

Michael D. Weir complained that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when a police officer seized $6,655 from him during a traffic stop. The car was originally pulled over after police observed Weir, a front seat passenger, not wearing his seatbelt. The police found the driver didn’t have a valid license or plates for the car, and decided to impound it. A pat down of Weir revealed a pocket knife, and while performing the pat down, the officer felt what appeared to be a large amount of cash.

The officer seized the cash, but allowed Weir to leave the scene. The driver was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia based on evidence found at the traffic stop. The driver later implicated Weir in a drug conspiracy, to which he implicated himself further after his arrest.

“I agree with Weir that the officer did not have probable cause to seize the cash at the time the officer effected the seizure,” Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote.

“The opinion concludes that the officers could seize the money because Weir was the passenger in a stolen car, and because they later discovered the digital scales in that car. But at the time the officer seized the cash, the officer had no evidence connecting Weir or the cash to criminal activity,” she continued. “That the officer later learned that the car was stolen and that it contained drug paraphernalia cannot retroactively justify the seizure.”

But she found even if seizure of the cash was error it was not plain error. The outcome of the case would have been the same if the cash wasn’t seized because it was the cash’s discovery that led to Weir’s downfall.

“Once the cash was legitimately discovered, alea iacta est. I therefore concur in the denial of the petition for rehearing, but I do not endorse the rationale used in the opinion to justify the seizure,” she wrote in United States of America v. Michael D. Weir, 11-3321.



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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon