U.S. Supreme Court Fails to Strengthen Protection of Personal Property

Date: May 09, 2024

Culley v. Marshall concerns civil asset forfeiture and the Due Process Clause

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 9, 2024)NFIB is disappointed in today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Culley v. Steven Marshall, Attorney General of Alabama. Small businesses were hopeful that the Court would establish that innocent small business owners are entitled to a prompt post-deprivation hearing. Instead, many small businesses will be forced to go through a lengthy and costly forfeiture process. NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case urging the Supreme Court to reverse the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling.

“When it comes to civil asset forfeiture, small business owners who rent, sell, or conduct cash transactions are particularly vulnerable to harm,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Because of this decision, many small business property owners will continue to be targeted and injured by a civil asset forfeiture procedure that violates due process and punishes businesses for the actions of the public.”

The case concerned the practice of law enforcement seizing personal property, known as civil asset forfeiture, and whether the Due Process Clause requires a post-seizure probable cause hearing. NFIB’s brief described how small businesses are targeted and injured in the absence of clear constitutional guardrails around civil asset forfeiture. While NFIB is disappointed that the Court did not strengthen the Due Process Clause’s protection of personal property by requiring a separate post-seizure hearing, we are hopeful that the Court’s stressing the importance of a timely forfeiture hearing will prevent drawn out property recovery proceedings.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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