Town of Mooresville ‘disappointed,’ plans to appeal judge’s order to pay man back forfeited seized money

North Carolina

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Town of Mooresville is fighting back against an Iredell County judge’s request to comply with a court order or go to jail.

Iredell District Court Judge Christine Underwood said the Town of Mooresville and its police department have one week to pay back $17,000 to a Connecticut man.

On Nov. 16, 2020, the Mooresville Police Department was called out to a hotel where they searched an unoccupied rental car and seized a small amount of marijuana as well as approximately $17,000 belonging to a Connecticut man, Jermaine Sanders, whose daughter resides in Iredell County.

On Nov. 19, 2020, the Mooresville Police Department was put on notice of a hearing to challenge the seizure of Sanders’ money, according to his lawyer Ashley Cannon.

However, the day before the hearing, Nov. 23, 2020, the police sent a check for the money to the federal government under the authority of the controversial civil forfeiture law.

To get forfeited money from federal authorities is a costly process — one that most average people cannot afford.

Ms. Cannon considers these forfeiture actions “highway robbery” and feels “Judge Underwood deserves a medal of honor” for her bravery in threatening Mooresville officials with incarceration.

Next Thursday, Feb. 18, is the deadline for Sanders to receive his money.

The Town of Mooresville has fired back, stating they plan to file an appeal. Below is their full statement released to FOX 46:

The Town of Mooresville is disappointed with the Court’s recent decision in the Sanders case. We believe the seizure by our police department was lawfully executed and the funds rightfully turned over to the US Department of Homeland Security at their directive, pursuant to established federal law.

The Town plans to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals, which by law stays enforcement of the order until the Court of Appeals reviews the merits of this case.

The Town does not plan to further comment at this time while an active criminal case and this civil matter is ongoing.

The Town of Mooresville

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