Monday, July 25, 2011

Conservation Force v. Salazar

Jul 22: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 10-15306. Appealed from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This case involves the seizure and administrative forfeiture of two leopard trophies by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from two hunters, Patricio Miguel Madero Blasquez and Colin Crook (plaintiffs), who attempted to import the leopard trophies from African countries without proper export permits. Plaintiffs and Conservation Force, a nonprofit entity, filed suit against Federal defendants Ken Salazar (Secretary of the Department of the Interior), Rowan Gould (Director of FWS), Daniel Shillito (Regional Solicitor for the Department of the Interior), Carolyn Lown (Regional Assistant Solicitor for the Department of the Interior), and the FWS asserting that the administrative forfeiture of their leopard trophies violated the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA), the Eighth Amendment Excessive Fines Clause, and the Due Process Clause. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' CAFRA and constitutional claims.
    The Appeals Court explained further, "In this case, the district court properly held that plaintiffs' CAFRA claim is barred from judicial review. Plaintiffs received proper notice of the proposed forfeitures. Plaintiffs chose to pursue an administrative path and filed petitions for remission and petitions for supplemental remission. These petitions were reviewed by the Office of the Solicitor and denied. Because plaintiffs chose to pursue administrative remedies, they waived the opportunity for judicial forfeiture proceedings. See 50 C.F.R. § 12.24(a) (expressly providing that remedies are exclusive); Malladi Drugs, 552 F.3d at 889 (holding that the remedies are exclusive); Cole v. United States (In re $844,520), 136 F.3d 581, 582 (8th Cir. 1998) (per curiam) (holding that the remedies are exclusive). Accordingly, as it properly held, the district court properly dismissed the action."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Wildlife, #CA9]

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