CA11: Declaratory judgment suit over search properly dismissed as interfering with criminal process

Plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment about a search issue underlying a criminal investigation. The district court dismissed because there was a remedy in the investigation, if it gets that far. Affirmed. Hawk Innovative Tech, LLC v. United States, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 26520 (11th Cir. Sep. 22, 2022):

Here, the district court analogized this action to one that seeks to restrain a criminal prosecution. That is because the declaration that Hawk seeks is that its conduct was not illegal—the ultimate issue that will arise in any criminal prosecution from the ongoing investigation. While technically this is an action for declaratory relief, the declaration sought would provide a defense to any prosecution arising out of the ongoing investigation. And, as the district court found, Hawk had made no showing of irreparable harm, and has an adequate legal remedy in the pending forfeiture actions and any criminal prosecution. Because the pending forfeiture proceedings or a criminal prosecution will be the appropriate venue to test Hawk’s argument, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed this action.

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