Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Baltimore Test Case: Federal Attorneys Respond

Readers of LM are likely to have been following the process of the so-called Baltimore Test Case relating to the import of coins without supporting paperwork. Attorney Rick St Hilaire has a very important post on "Federal Attorneys File Appellate Brief in Baltimore Coin Case". I suggest that those interested in this case should read the full post, but here is a little flavour.
The United States rebukes the ACCG for short-circuiting the judicial forfeiture proceeding, avoiding its burden of proof, and claiming that the government acted beyond its authority (i.e. ultra vires). The government contends that the “Plaintiff [ACCG] cannot properly circumvent the statutory scheme established by Congress by asking a district court to review this seizure under the APA and under the rubric of ultra vires review and . . . to further confound Congress’s intent by asking the court to disregard the burden of proof established by the CPIA.”

Attorneys for the United States further maintain that the ACCG has confused the meaning and requirements of the CPIA. They point out that “[t]o import the coins into the United States, plaintiff [ACCG] needed only to show that the coins had left Cyprus or China before the effective dates of the relevant Designated Lists. Plaintiff declined to offer any declaration to that effect, claiming that it could not offer the evidence required by the statute because it did not know whether the coins had been ‘first found in the ground’ of either China or Cyprus. But the CPIA quite plainly does not require plaintiff to know where the coins were ‘first found in the ground’; all that was required was information as to the whereabouts of the Cypriot coins as of July 16, 2007 and of the Chinese coins as of January 16, 2009.”

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) would probably do well to seek out better informed legal advice.

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