United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
CHARLES FRANCIS HURT, JR. PETITIONER
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA RESPONDENT
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Charles Francis Hurt, Jr., who challenges the
forfeiture of his property under the Civil Asset Forfeiture
Reform Act (“CAFRA”), 18 U.S.C. § 983. The
plaintiff alleges that the government improperly seized his
property and that the procedure used during forfeiture was
flawed. The government has moved for summary judgment, and
Mr. Hurt has responded. For the reasons set forth below, the
government's motion for summary judgment will be granted,
and the instant case will be dismissed for want of standing.
and Procedural Posture
Francis Hurt, Jr. (“Hurt”) seeks the return of
several items of personal property that were seized on June
5, 2015, from his residence in Southaven, Mississippi during
the execution of a federal search warrant in connection with
Mr. Hurt's arrest for violations of Title 18, United
States Code, Section 2422(b) (Attempted Coercion/Enticement
of a Minor). The property at issue was seized by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security
Investigations (HIS), under 18 U.S.C. § 2254, as the
property was used in the transportation of sexually explicit
visual depictions involving the use of minors engaging in
sexually explicit conduct and/or materials constituting or
containing child pornography, and it was also used to attempt
to engage in sexual contact with a minor. Hurt Motion,
November 5, 2015, Mr. Hurt pled guilty to Count One of a
superseding indictment that charged him with attempted
Coercion/Enticement of a Minor in violation of Title 18,
United States Code, Section 2422(b). A copy of Mr. Hurt's
Plea Agreement is attached to the Government's Motion for
Summary Judgment as Exhibit A. He is currently serving a
120-month sentence. The property at issue was declared
forfeited to the United States via a Declaration of
Administrative Forfeiture on December 31, 2015. A copy of the
Declaration of Administrative Forfeiture is attached to the
Government's Motion for Summary Judgment as Exhibit B. An
Order to Destroy and Record of Destruction of Forfeited,
Abandoned, or Unclaimed Merchandise for the property at issue
was executed on May 4, 2017. A copy is attached the
Government's Motion for Summary Judgment as Exhibit C.
judgment is appropriate if the “materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials”
show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) and (c)(1).
“The moving party must show that if the evidentiary
material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in
court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party
to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. of
Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir.
2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
(1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)). After a
proper motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts
to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633; Allen
v. Rapides Parish School Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621
(5th Cir. 2000); Ragas v. Tennessee Gas
Pipeline Company, 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir.
1998). Substantive law determines what is material.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Only disputes over
facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary
will not be counted.” Id., at 248. If the
non-movant sets forth specific facts in support of
allegations essential to his claim, a genuine issue is
presented. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. “Where
the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538
(1986); Federal Savings and Loan, Inc. v. Krajl, 968
F.2d 500, 503 (5thCir. 1992).
facts are reviewed drawing all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Allen, 204 F.3d at 621;
PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water
Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir.
1999); Banc One Capital Partners Corp. v. Kneipper,
67 F.3d 1187, 1198 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this
is so only when there is “an actual controversy, that
is, when both parties have submitted evidence of
contradictory facts.” Little v. Liquid Air
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994);
see Edwards v. Your Credit, Inc., 148 F.3d 427, 432
(5th Cir. 1998). In the absence of proof, the
court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could
or would prove the necessary facts.” Little,
37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act
forfeiture proceedings in this case are governed by the Civil
Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (“CAFRA”), 18 U.S.C.
§ 983. Subsection (e) provides:
(1) Any person entitled to written notice in any nonjudicial
civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil forfeiture statute
who does not receive such notice may file a motion to set
aside a declaration of forfeiture with respect to that
person's interest in the property, which motion shall be
(A) the Government knew, or reasonably should have known, of
the moving party's interest and failed to take reasonable
steps to provide such party with notice; and
(B) the moving party did not know or have reason to know of
the seizure within sufficient time ...