Question: In April 1986 the FBI arrested Larry Dean Dusenbery in
In April 1986 the FBI arrested Larry Dean Dusenbery in his home. After the FBI removed Dusenbery from the premises and placed him in custody, it obtained and executed a search war rant for his property. During the search, FBI agents seized drugs, drug paraphernalia, weapons, an automobile, and $21,939 in currency. Dusenbery pleaded guilty to a charge of possession with intent to distribute. The trial court sentenced him to 12 years in prison and a 6-year special parole. Two years later, the FBI began to administratively forfeit the seized possessions. This process required that the FBI send written notice of the forfeiture procedures to Dusenbery. The FBI, in accordance with this policy, sent letters to Dusenbery by certified mail to the federal corrections institution where he was incarcerated. The FBI sent identical letters to his home address and his mother's address. The FBI received no response, but nevertheless it proceeded with the forfeiture of his assets. Five years later, Dusenbery filed a motion requesting that the FBI return his property to him. He received a response from the U.S. government informing him that the FBI had returned all property not used in the drug business and had forfeited the rest of it. Dusenbery filed a civil suit claiming that the FBI denied his right of due process when it forfeited his property because he had never received the letter from the FBI. The district court ruled that the FBI had not violated his due process rights; the FBI satisfied his rights when it sent the notice. How do you think the appellate court ruled in this case? Why?
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