Civil Forfeiture
Private Property

Terry and Ria Platt

October 6, 2016

Soon after Terry and Ria’s car was seized, they received a “Notice of Pending Forfeiture Making Uncontested Forfeiture Available” in the mail. The notice contained two pages of fine print informing them that Navajo County wanted to forfeit their car—and they had only 30 days to file a claim (with the court) or petition (with the prosecutor) if they wanted to object to the forfeiture. Terry and Ria consulted a lawyer who told them it would cost $4,000 to fight the forfeiture and the chances of winning were slim. Unable to afford a lawyer, the Platts tried to respond to the highly complex and confusing notice as best they could and mailed a handwritten response to the prosecutor in time to meet the 30-day deadline. However, their response would not get to a judge, as they thought. Instead, their response went to the prosecutor and Terry and Ria found themselves lost in Arizona’s forfeiture maze.