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Okafor v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

January 13, 2017

Chike Okafor, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
United States of America, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued and Submitted October 18, 2016 San Francisco, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Laurel D. Beeler, Magistrate Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 3:14-cv-01002-LB

          Edward M. Burch (argued) and David M. Michael, Law Offices of David M. Michael, San Francisco, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Anne M. Voights (argued), Assistant United States Attorney; Barbara J. Valliere, Chief, Appellate Division; Melinda Haag, United States Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, San Francisco, California; for Defendant-Appellee.

          Before: A. Wallace Tashima and Milan D. Smith, Jr., Circuit Judges, and Edward R. Korman, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Forfeiture

         The panel affirmed the district court's denial of claimant's Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g) motion for return of $99, 500 in cash that was seized by Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") agents from claimant's carry-on bag at San Francisco International Airport.

         The DEA sent claimant a notice informing him that the money was subject to forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881 because it was used in, or acquired as a result of, a violation of the Controlled Substance Act. The DEA subsequently deemed claimant's claim to contest the forfeiture as untimely.

         The panel held that the district court had jurisdiction to hear claimant's motion for equitable relief. The panel treated 18 U.S.C. § 983(e) of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act as a claim-processing rule, and held that it posed no clear jurisdictional limitation.

         The panel held that the district court did not err in holding that claimant was not entitled to equitable tolling because FedEx's purported delivery delay of his claim did not constitute an extraordinary circumstance that would justify equitable tolling.

          OPINION

          TASHIMA, Circuit Judge

         Chike Okafor appeals the decision of the district court denying his motion for return of property. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm the district court's ruling.

         In 2013, at San Francisco International Airport, Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") agents seized $99, 500 in cash from Okafor's carry-on bag. The DEA sent Okafor a notice on May 1, 2013, informing him that the money was subject to forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881 because it had been used in, or acquired as a result of, a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. The ...


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