S.D.N.Y.: 4A doesn’t apply to seizure of superyacht in Fiji belonging to a non-US citizen

The Fourth Amendment does not apply extraterritorially to a boat seizure for forfeiture in Fiji belonging to a noncitizen. “It is hereby ORDERED that Claimants’ request for expedited discovery is DENIED. Claimants’ request is denied because the basis of their argument—that the initial seizure of the property may have violated the Fourth Amendment and that Claimants should be allowed to gather evidence to develop this argument—fails because ‘the Fourth Amendment (and, in particular, its warrant requirement) does not apply extraterritorially … at least where the `[the defendant] was a citizen and resident of [of another country] with no voluntary attachment to the United States.’” United States v. Amadea, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32845 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 2024).

“Applying the above factors, we conclude that the district court did not clearly err in deeming the initial encounter consensual. Officers Myers and Pacheco first drove past Cade and T.J. standing in the street alongside a parked sedan. When they returned to the pair, they pulled their car off to the side of the road slightly in front of the sedan, turned on their emergency lights, calmly exited their vehicle, and asked T.J. a reasonable question about the contents of her red solo cup. The interaction took place on a public road with other cars and people nearby, only two officers were present (matching the number of suspects), and the officers’ conduct was not threatening—they did not rush out of their vehicle or have their hands on their service firearms. Further, the officers did not show their weapons, talk to Cade or T.J. in an aggressive tone, or imply that anyone was suspected of a crime. While the officers did not inform Cade and T.J. that they could leave, the factors in Holly are ‘neither exhaustive nor exclusive.’ 940 F.3d at 1000 (quotation omitted).” United States v. Cade, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 4355 (7th Cir. Feb. 26, 2024).*

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