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Does Iowa City cash seizure case warrant contacting an attorney?

There was no arrest. There apparently were no charges filed. So on what basis did Iowa City police seize nearly $50,000 in cash from a Minnesota couple last month?

That question and whether the money will be returned is something a Johnson County Court judge will consider -- but not until May 6. Is this a case that might benefit from a consultation with a criminal defense attorney? It seems to be.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the case based on the information that's currently available. Iowa City Police are remaining fairly tight-lipped about it all. The only details that are available seem to come from court documents filed in the matter. 

According to those papers, authorities seized the money during a traffic stop on March 16. They say that the man from St. Paul was driving with his four children, headed for home, when an Iowa City officer pulled him over from out of a group of vehicles that were allegedly speeding. Why his car was selected from all the rest would seem to be a question worth exploring.

In the course of the stop, two more officers and a police dog arrived at the scene. The court papers say that based on some signal from the dog, police conducted a search of the vehicle. They found the cash, but apparently nothing else.

The cash was seized and the driver was cited for allegedly driving without a valid license -- a charge he denies.

Last Friday, the man filed a petition seeking the return of the money and declaring that it should never have been seized in the first place. The document explains that the money was intended to go toward the purchase of some property from a sister in Illinois, but that the deal fell through.

Given the dearth of information coming from police in this instance, it would seem to suggest that legal counsel might be helpful.

Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen, "Minnesota couple requests ICPD return $48,000 in seized cash," Mitchell Schmidt, April 17, 2014

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