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United States v. Caruthers

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 27, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
Randy Earl Caruthers; Montreal Lavar Smith; Ulysses Redd, Jr.; James Earl Hubbard, Jr., Defendants Reggie Matthews, Third Party - Appellant

Submitted August 22, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - Cape Girardeau.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Richard E. Finneran, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO; Paul W. Hahn, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Cape Girardeau, MO.

For Reggie Matthews, Third Party - Appellant: Kevin L. Schriener, Law & Schriener, Saint Louis, MO.

Before BENTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 844

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Reggie A. Matthews--not a defendant in the underlying federal criminal case--seeks a hearing to determine his interest in $412,900.00 seized from the trunk of a car he was driving. The district court[1] dismissed his petition for lack of standing under 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(3). United States v. Caruthers, 967 F.Supp.2d 1286 (E.D. Mo. 2013). Matthews appeals, arguing that the district court did not have jurisdiction of the petition and that he has standing. Having jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

An Arkansas state court issued an order transferring the money to the federal government. Although the state court later set aside its order, the federal government has custody of the money.

Matthews challenges the district court's jurisdiction, asserting that the Arkansas state court has " primary jurisdiction" over the money. He argues, " It is well-settled

Page 845

law that only one court may have jurisdiction over the res in an in rem proceeding. Thus, the first court to obtain in rem jurisdiction maintains it to the exclusion of all others whether that court be state or federal."

Matthews cites only in rem and civil forfeiture cases. This is a forfeiture ancillary to a criminal case, so a federal court's jurisdiction is in personam. United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 332, 118 S.Ct. 2028, 141 L.Ed.2d 314 (1998) (" [Criminal forfeiture] descends not from historic in rem forfeitures of guilty property, but from a different historical tradition: that of in personam, criminal forfeitures." ). Matthews filed a petition in federal court, subjecting himself to its in personam jurisdiction. See United States v. Timley, 443 F.3d 615, 628 (8th Cir. 2006) (finding ...


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