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Victim of Unlawful Search and Seizure May Not Sue for Damages for Legal Expenses Incurred
Description Appeals court affirmed dismissal of a suit brought against officers who seized drugs from an individual's property in an improper manner, resulting in the criminal prosecution being dropped. There may be no suit to recover the legal expenses incurred in response to the incriminating evidence that resulted in the initial action.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Unlawful Seizure; Litigation Costs
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hector was prosecuted following police seizure of 80 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms from his airplane. The seizure was held to be unlawful, the evidence was suppressed, and the suit against Hector was dismissed. He then sued the government officials involved in his arrest and prosecution to recover $3,500 in bail-bond expenses, $23,000 in attorney's fees, and $2,000 travel costs. The district court held that he could not recover the costs incurred during the criminal prosecution. Hector appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Hector may not recover the costs he incurred in his criminal prosecution. The victims of unreasonable searches or seizures may recover damages directly related to the invasion of their privacy, including, when appropriate, damages for physical injury, property damage, and injury to reputation, but such victims cannot be compensated for injuries that result from the discovery of incriminating evidence and consequent prosecution and legal proceedings.
Citation Hector v. Watt, 235 F.3d 154 (3rd Cir., 2000)

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