28 U.S. Code § 2465 - Return of property to claimant; liability for wrongful seizure; attorney fees, costs, and interest

(a) Upon the entry of a judgment for the claimant in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property seized or arrested under any provision of Federal law—
(1) such property shall be returned forthwith to the claimant or his agent; and
(2) if it appears that there was reasonable cause for the seizure or arrest, the court shall cause a proper certificate thereof to be entered and, in such case, neither the person who made the seizure or arrest nor the prosecutor shall be liable to suit or judgment on account of such suit or prosecution, nor shall the claimant be entitled to costs, except as provided in subsection (b).
(b)
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), in any civil proceeding to forfeit property under any provision of Federal law in which the claimant substantially prevails, the United States shall be liable for—
(A) reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by the claimant;
(B) post-judgment interest, as set forth in section 1961 of this title; and
(C) in cases involving currency, other negotiable instruments, or the proceeds of an interlocutory sale—
(i) interest actually paid to the United States from the date of seizure or arrest of the property that resulted from the investment of the property in an interest-bearing account or instrument; and
(ii) an imputed amount of interest that such currency, instruments, or proceeds would have earned at the rate applicable to the 30-day Treasury Bill, for any period during which no interest was paid (not including any period when the property reasonably was in use as evidence in an official proceeding or in conducting scientific tests for the purpose of collecting evidence), commencing 15 days after the property was seized by a Federal law enforcement agency, or was turned over to a Federal law enforcement agency by a State or local law enforcement agency.
(2)
(A) The United States shall not be required to disgorge the value of any intangible benefits nor make any other payments to the claimant not specifically authorized by this subsection.
(B) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply if the claimant is convicted of a crime for which the interest of the claimant in the property was subject to forfeiture under a Federal criminal forfeiture law.
(C) If there are multiple claims to the same property, the United States shall not be liable for costs and attorneys fees associated with any such claim if the United States—
(i) promptly recognizes such claim;
(ii) promptly returns the interest of the claimant in the property to the claimant, if the property can be divided without difficulty and there are no competing claims to that portion of the property;
(iii) does not cause the claimant to incur additional, reasonable costs or fees; and
(iv) prevails in obtaining forfeiture with respect to one or more of the other claims.
(D) If the court enters judgment in part for the claimant and in part for the Government, the court shall reduce the award of costs and attorney fees accordingly.

Source

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 975; Pub. L. 106–185, § 4(a),Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 211.)
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§ 818, 827 (R.S. §§ 970, 979).
Section consolidates sections 818 and 827 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with changes of phraseology necessary to effect the consolidation.
The words “in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property” were inserted in conformity with the uniform course of judicial decisions. See Hammel v. Little, App.D.C. 1936, 87 F.2d 907, and cases there cited.
The qualifying language of section 827 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., requiring the claimant to pay his own costs before the return of his property was omitted as unnecessary and involving a matter more properly for regulation by rule of court. (See sections 1913, 1914, and 1925 of this title.)
(See also section 2006 of this title with respect to actions against internal revenue officers and their liability for acts in the performance of official duties.)
Amendments

2000—Pub. L. 106–185amended section catchline and text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Upon the entry of judgment for the claimant in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property seized under any Act of Congress, such property shall be returned forthwith to the claimant or his agent; but if it appears that there was reasonable cause for the seizure, the court shall cause a proper certificate thereof to be entered and the claimant shall not, in such case, be entitled to costs, nor shall the person who made the seizure, nor the prosecutor, be liable to suit or judgment on account of such suit or prosecution.”
Effective Date of 2000 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 106–185applicable to any forfeiture proceeding commenced on or after the date that is 120 days after Apr. 25, 2000, see section 21 ofPub. L. 106–185, set out as a note under section 1324 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

28 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

 

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