Forfeiture Victory at Minnesota Supreme Court Breathes Life into Fourth Amendment

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule applies to civil forfeiture cases. Max Keller from Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case. This is an important and notable win for defense lawyers across the state.

Daniel Garcia-Mendoza was stopped by police officers and did not have a valid driver’s license. He was given a citation. The police then impounded the vehicle and searched it. During the search, police found 225 grams of methamphetamine in his 2003 Chevy Tahoe. He also had $611.00 of cash on him. He was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance. His vehicle and money were both seized. Garcia contested the forfeiture and filed a civil complaint. The court granted the states motion for summary judgment and the court of appeals affirmed. The court of appeals stated that the exclusionary rule does not apply to civil forfeiture actions.

Garcia was indicted in federal court on three counts of distribution of methamphetamine. He was convicted of two counts. In the plea agreement, Garcia agreed to forfeit any and all property that was used in connection to the violation.

The Judge in the civil forfeiture case found that the traffic stop was Unconstitutional. The Minnesota Supreme court stated that the exclusionary rule applies to civil forfeiture cases and that the evidence was illegally obtained. Civil forfeiture is a legal process that gives the police department the power to take property connected to a crime.

If you have been charged with a crime and are facing a forfeiture of your property stemming from an incident, contact Minnesota Forfeiture Attorney Max Keller.

Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys has represented many individuals in forfeiture proceedings. We have also bee successful in getting many of our clients’ property back. In certain situations, there is also a time limit that a forfeiture petition needs to be file. Be sure to contact a skilled Minnesota defense attorney to ensure you are not missing your forfeiture deadline.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.