Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments Daily Fantasy Sports Poker Stories Podcast U.S. Poker Markets

Man Could See Return Of $167K Nevada Police Seized After He Was Driving Too Slow For State's Liking

Federal Appeals Court Says His Constitutional Rights Were Violated

Print-icon
 

A federal court has upheld a lower court ruling to return money that a Hawaii man lost in Nevada when stopped and detained by police in 2013.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday found that Straughn Gorman had his constitutional rights violated when being pulled over near Elko for a “minor traffic infraction.”

After being stopped for allegedly driving too slow, the cop let Gorman go. However, the officer arranged for a different cop, one with a drug-sniffing dog, to stop Gorman again.

Police had no reason to suspect Gorman of a serious crime, but the drug dog of course picked up something on the $167,000 in cash that was in the motor home. Police were able to seize it under the infamous civil asset forfeiture laws.

“You don’t have a job,” the officer said to Gorman. Before seizing his property, the officer let Gorman have his credit card and $192 and said “you’re free to go.”

The money was shipped over to the federal government, which is in charge of the paperwork trying to make sure the money is kept in the state’s pockets.

“I am absolutely delighted by the very thorough and comprehensive analysis of the 9th Circuit in addressing what it very aptly characterized as police ‘gamesmanship’ purposefully designed to evade vital Fourth Amendment protections by and through the use of successive vehicle stops and what I call a catch, release, and recapture tactic,” said Vincent Savarese, Gorman’s lawyer.

It’s unclear if the government will continue to appeal.

The case is similar to the nightmare endured by two poker players driving through Iowa in April 2013. They had their bankrolls ($100,000) taken after they allegedly failed to use a turn signal. Video confirmed that they properly signaled.

William “Bart” Davis and John Newmerzhycky ended up settling late last year. They were awarded $150,000 from the ordeal, minus attorney fees.

“They took everything that I owned at that point in my life,” Newmerzhycky told Card Player in 2014. “My game was just starting to get on point and we decided to take that road trip…[T]hose Iowa cops pretty much put an end to [my poker playing] too and ruined my life."

Below is a video of Gorman’s traffic stop: