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State v. 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Auto.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

January 14, 2016

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Automobile, VIN: 1J4GZ78Y5WC143664, $618 United States Currency, Defendants and Mark Matuska, Interested Party and Appellant

Editorial Note:

The opinion cannot be considered final until disposition of such petition for rehearing by the court or expiration of 14 days from filing date.

Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable James S. Hill, Judge.

Justin J. Schwarz (argued), Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

Mark Matuska (on brief), self-represented, Bismarck, N.D., interested party and appellant.

Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 673

Lisa Fair McEvers, J.

[¶1] Mark Matuska, registered owner of a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, appeals from a district court's amended judgment in a civil forfeiture action. Matuska argues the district court abused its discretion in amending the judgment. Additionally, he argues N.D.C.C. § 19-03.1-36(1)(e) does not authorize the forfeiture of the contents of the vehicle or the $618.

Page 674

We vacate the amended judgment and dismiss the remainder of the appeal as barred by res judicata.

I

[¶2] According to the district court filings, Matuska was arrested during a controlled narcotics buy. The State filed a complaint seeking to forfeit the vehicle used in the offense and $618 found in the vehicle and on Matuska during his arrest. Matuska answered, arguing that the currency law enforcement officers seized was not used as " buy money" and not subject to forfeiture.

[¶3] On October 6, 2014, after an evidentiary hearing, the district court entered judgment forfeiting the vehicle and currency. On October 24, 2014, the State filed notice of entry of judgment with the district court. On November 14, 2014, Matuska timely appealed from the district court's judgment forfeiting his vehicle and currency. For unknown reasons, Matuska moved to voluntarily ...


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