The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted Americans for Forfeiture Reform's request to participate in oral arguments in United States v. Moser, an appeal of a District Court order slashing an attorney fee-shifting award arising from a civil forfeiture.
Potentially at stake in Moser is whether the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000's fee shifting provision continues to provide a compelling market incentive for private attorneys to take cases defending forfeiture victims on hopes of winning fee-shift awards.
Whatever the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decides in Moser could thus shape whether forfeiture victims will be able to retain counsel when they lack the means to finance a forfeiture defense out-of-pocket or when legal costs threaten to surpass the value of the seized property---which is often.
AFR's successful request for inclusion in oral arguments is available here.
Many thanks to Mahesha Subbaraman, our former counsel, and to Ben Steinberg, our current counsel, in Moser.