In re $300,000

Litigators: Read this Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court opinion involving return of property actions. In connection with a return of property action brought under Pa.R.Crim.P. 588 after the police seized his property during a traffic stop, Mr. Xu filed a motion to suppress. The Commonwealth opposed the suppression motion, maintaining that he could not bring a stand-alone motion to suppress in a return of property action before the Commonwealth filed criminal charges or initiated a forfeiture action. The Court of Common Pleas denied the suppression motion as premature. The Commonwealth Court vacated the lower court’s order. On appeal, the Commonwealth argued the issue was moot because the Commonwealth commenced a forfeiture action after Mr. Xu appealed. The Court held that the issue was not moot, as it was capable of repetition yet evading review and involved a matter of great public importance. On the merits, the Court interpreted the language of Rule 588 to permit the filing of a motion to suppress by any person–not only a criminal defendant– who has had their property seized. The Court held that a motion to suppress may be brought in a Rule 588 return of property action, regardless of whether the Commonwealth has filed criminal charges or a forfeiture action.

In-Re-300000-in-U.S.-Currency