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United States v. Arafat

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 15, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat, Defendant.

          Deidre Y. Aanstad, United States Attorney's Office, for Plaintiff.

          Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat, MCFP Springfield, pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat's pro se Motion for Return of Seized Property [Doc. No. 533] (“Def.'s Mot.”), brought pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g). Arafat contends that he is entitled to the return of various items lawfully seized by the government in the course of investigating a series of bank robberies, for which he ultimately pled guilty.[1] (See Def.'s Mot. at 1-2.) Although Arafat is unable to recall exactly what items the government has in its possession, he states that-at minimum-he is entitled to return of the following items seized from his possession:

1. Apple iPhone;
2. Sony Camera (black in color);
3. Black Ferragamo leather bag (with personal contents);
4. Black TUMI leather bag (with personal contents including photographs);
5. Clothing and personal shoes and boots;
6. Black (bi-fold) leather wallet with personal contents;
7. Tan-colored leather bag with several paper documents;
8. Multiple jackets/coats; and
9. Other personal effects, including a set of keys.

         “Rule 41(g) authorizes a person whose property is seized by the government to petition the district court for its return.” Jackson v. United States, 526 F.3d 394, 396 (8th Cir. 2008). The burden lies on the movant to establish lawful entitlement to the property. Id. This burden is “often satisfied by showing that the property was seized from the movant's possession.” Id. At that point, the burden shifts to the government to establish a legitimate reason to retain the property-for instance because the property is contraband or subject to forfeiture, or because the ...


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