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Vehicle forfeiture order affirmed despite state’s yearlong delay

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A convicted cocaine dealer failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that summary judgment forfeiture of his yellow 2004 Hummer was a violation of trial rules, even though the state’s motion for summary judgment was in response to a court show cause order due to case inactivity for more than a year.

Pro se appellant Victor Hugo Mesa argued the forfeiture of his vehicle violated multiple rules and that he was entitled to a hearing before the forfeiture. The state alleged Mesa purchased the vehicle with proceeds from dealing cocaine.

Jackson Circuit Judge William E. Vance last June issued the forfeiture order on the state’s summary judgment hearing. The Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday in Victor Hugo Mesa v. State of Indiana, 36A01-1308-MI-362, finding no merit in Mesa’s argument that he was entitled to a hearing or that the matter should have been dismissed.

“Because Mesa did not (1) properly request a summary judgment hearing, or (2) designate any evidence to show that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the vehicle was seizable under Indiana Code § 34-24-1-1(a)(3), the trial court did not err by granting summary judgment to the State,” Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote for the majority, joined by Judge Cale Bradford.

Judge Paul Mathias wrote a concurring opinion “to emphasize that Mesa’s complete failure to designate any evidence to contradict that designated by the State in its motion for summary judgment negated any reason for a hearing.”

The majority noted, however, that a case pending before the Indiana Supreme Court – Detona Sargent v. State, 985 N.E.2d 1108 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), reh’g denied, trans. granted – was argued March 20 and involves forfeiture of a vehicle on summary judgment.   

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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