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Poker Players Can Proceed With Lawsuit Over 'Highway Robbery' In Iowa

Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Poker Players' Lawsuit


Newmer­zhycky and DavisPoker players John Newmer­zhycky and William “Bart” Davis were driving through Iowa in a rental car in April 2013 after going to a World Series of Poker Circuit event in Illinois when they were pulled over by state troopers. Police later seized $100,000 in cash from the two men—and they are still trying to get it back. Though they are technically fighting civil asset forfeiture laws, they call what happened to them “highway robbery.”

Earlier this month, US District Court Judge James Gritzner ruled that the defendants—several Iowa law enforcement officers and a private group in Oklahoma that “provides
hands-on highway interdiction training for law enforcement agencies”—can’t have the case dismissed, according to court documents obtained by Card Player.

Both poker players say that their livelihoods were greatly effected by the ordeal and the expenses incurred trying to move forward and get back their poker bankrolls.

In October, Card Player spoke at length with Davis and Newmer­zhycky, as well as their attorney, Glen Downey, about the incident, which they all argue violated their rights. They allege that the police stopped them simply because they had out-of-state license plates.

Iowa was on “the money hunt,” according to the poker players.

According to court documents, a trial ready date is set for September 2016.

Davis and Newmer­zhycky’s case is not all that uncommon amid the growing criticism of civil asset forfeiture, which often targets people who don’t have the resources to defend themselves. In another case, a college student was charged with assaulting a police officer for putting up resistance to law enforcement seizing $13,000 of his savings at an airport despite no evidence of criminal activity.

Below is the judge’s ruling on the request to dismiss Davis and Newmer­zhycky’s case:

July 8 Order



over 7 years ago

Being as I work for a criminal defense attorney I just had to read the entire order. The story is frightening. Good luck, guys, and I hope you get a huge (and I mean huge) award when it finally settles out. From what I read my guess is, if they are forced to go to trial they (meaning the authorities) will settle because they don't want any publicity of this type of behavior. If that happens, please don't let them off the hook lightly.

Just knowing that Desert Snow, LLC and Black Asphalt, LLC even exist sends shivers down my spine.