Savely v. Utah Highway Patrol, 2018 UT 44 (Aug. 22, 2018)

The Utah Highway Patrol seized nearly $500,000 in cash from the plaintiff after a traffic stop.  The plaintiff filed suit seeking to have his money returned to him after it sat in a UHP bank account for seventy-five days and no forfeiture proceedings were filed in a Utah state district court.  The district court initi concluded that it lacked in rem jurisdiction over the seized funds because a federal magistrate had issued a seizure warrant for the money on behalf of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the UHP had sent a check for the cash amount to the DEA, although that check was never cashed.  On appeal, the court reversed and remanded, concluding that a district court begins exercising in rem jurisdiction, at the very latest, when property is held for forfeiture and that the federal seizure warrants had no effect on the district court’s in rem jurisdiction.