Recently, the 6th Court of Appeals (Texarkana) released an opinion in.39 acres vs. the State of Texas . In Texas, asset forfeiture cases list the property as the defendant. For example, The State of Texas vs. Ford F-150, or The State of Texas vs. $24,762 are potential forfeiture case names.
.39 acres was actually about Henry Doke, the owner of the Dew Drop Inn in Marion County. The Dew Drop Inn was a commercial space rented out on a month to month basis.
A search warrant was issued for suspected drug activity at the DDI. The police show up and find cocaine and make a few arrests. The State moves to seize the DDI and the land (.39 acres).
Despite the search and arrests no evidence was found against Mr. Doke. Henry Doke was never convicted of any crime. Henry Doke was never charged with any crime. Still the State moved to steal his property, claiming that the Dew Drop Inn had become “contraband”.
Prior to the raid Mr. Doke had been informed by a local NARC that there was drug activity at the DDI. Based on that, the trial court allowed the State to seize the DDI.
The Court of Appeals for the State finding that Mr. Doke “should have known” of the illegal drug activity. Mr. Doke raised a factual sufficiency review for appeal. Those are hard to win. However, the court of appeals in Texarkana is setting a precedent- private citizens have been drafted into the Drug War. Ignore NARCs at your own peril.
If you disagree with a NARC, if you don’t believe a NARC, if you don’t care to be an agent for law enforcement, or simply choose not to further the perpetual failure of Prohibition- the State can and will steal your property.
Own any property in Texas? Care to keep it? Congratulations, you are now a full time drug warrior.