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Schug v. Nine Thousand Nine Hundred Sixteen Dollars and Fifty Cents in U.S. Currency

September 23, 2003

RANDY JOHN SCHUG, APPELLANT,
v.
NINE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED SIXTEEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS IN U.S. CURRENCY, RESPONDENT, AND MICHAEL A. FAHEY, CARVER COUNTY ATTORNEY, RESPONDENT,
v.
1994 RED CHEVROLET K-1500 PK, VIN 2GCEKK19K2R1128848, VEHICLE LICENSE PLATE NO. FFT 630, RESPONDENT.



Carver County District Court File No. C9-02-727 and C7-02-757

Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Anderson, Judge, and Wright, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Insurance proceeds representing the fair-market value of a vehicle subject to forfeiture, destroyed as a direct result of the insured's criminal conduct, are also subject to forfeiture.

The forfeiture of insurance proceeds representing the fair-market value of a motor vehicle destroyed as a direct result of the insured's illegal conduct does not constitute a violation of state or federal constitutional double jeopardy provisions.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Barry Anderson, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Appellant challenges the district court's order directing that the proceeds from an insurance policy covering his vehicle be forfeited. Appellant argues that (1) Minnesota law does not allow for the forfeiture of insurance proceeds and (2) that the forfeiture violates his constitutional right against double jeopardy because it is punitive in nature and does not serve any of the remedial goals of the forfeiture statute. We affirm.

FACTS

On December 24, 2001, appellant Randy John Schug was involved in a two-car accident. The accident occurred after the vehicle appellant was driving crossed the centerline and struck an oncoming vehicle. Some of the occupants of the other vehicle were injured as a result of this accident. Both cars involved in the accident were damaged, but appellant's car was a total loss.

A blood test conducted after the accident revealed that appellant had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of.20. A later test revealed a BAC of.16. In January 2002 the state notified appellant's automobile insurance carrier that the state had an interest in the settlement of any property-damage claim filed by appellant stemming from the December 24, 2001, accident. The state advised the insurer not to release any insurance proceeds until the district court ordered the insurance carrier to do so.

The state filed a civil complaint pursuant to Minn. Stat. §§á169A.63, 609.5312 (2000), against appellant's vehicle, seeking the title to the vehicle and any insurance proceeds resulting from the accident. On September 10, 2002, appellant and the state entered into a plea agreement and appellant pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 2a (2)(i) (2002).

The civil files were consolidated in September 2002 and, because the parties did not dispute the facts, the matter was argued by memorandum only. The district court concluded that the insurance settlement was subject to forfeiture and ...


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