Dusenbery v. United States

534 U.S. 161, 122 S. Ct. 694 (2002)



The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the United States, as the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendmentprohibits the states, from depriving any person of property without due process of law. Individuals whose property interests are at stake are entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard.


FBI officers seized property and cash pursuant to a search warrant after petitioner inmate was arrested. While the petitioner was incarcerated, the FBI sent letters of its intention to forfeit the cash by certified mail addressed to the petitioner care of the correctional institution. The FBI received no response within the time allotted. Nearly five years later, petitioner filed his motion seeking the return of the items. The district court granted summary judgment to respondent United States, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court granted the inmate's petition for writ of certiorari to the appellate court to consider the adequacy of the FBI's notice of its intended forfeiture.


Did the FBI's notice to petitioner by certified mail addressed to prisoner care of his prison satisfy the requirements of due process?




The Supreme Court determined that the forfeiture notice was adequate under the Due Process Clause. The notice was reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise the inmate of the pendency of the cash forfeiture.

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