Yamhill County v. Real Property

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 03-08-2023
  • Case #: A173574
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, C.J. for the Court; Kamins, P.J.; & Jacquot, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article XV, section 10 of the Oregon Constitution, forfeiture of real property is criminal punishment, therefore forfeiture proceedings must be consolidated with criminal proceedings to avoid the Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy.

Owner appealed the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss a civil forfeiture judgment against the Owner’s real property. Yamhill County initiated civil forfeiture proceedings against Owner after they were convicted and sentenced on weapons and drug charges. On appeal, Owner argued that the trial court erred in denying their motion to dismiss because civil forfeiture proceedings violated the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy. Approved by Oregon voters in 2000, Article XV, section 10(2)(b) of the Oregon Constitution declares that “property of a person generally should not be forfeited in a forfeiture proceeding by government unless and until that person is convicted of a crime involving the property.” After analyzing voters’ pamphlets as well as editorials in support and against the Amendment, the Court reasoned that Oregon voters likely understood Article XV, section 10 of the Oregon Constitution to define forfeiture as a form of criminal punishment. The Court held that forfeiture proceedings against Owner were thus precluded by prior criminal proceedings due to Fifth Amendment double jeopardy protections. Reversed and Remanded.


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