Court: Officer has no ties to Silver State
The United States Supreme Court ruled last week that a police officer in Georgia could not be sued in Nevada court over the seizure of $97,000 at an Atlanta airport.
Anthony Walden, deputized as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, seized the money from a Nevada couple as they passed through the airport in 2006. He suspected the money was linked to drug trafficking. The couple said they won the money gambling in Puerto Rico.
Walden said they needed to produce proof of their claim in order to get their money back. According to ABC News, the pair returned to Nevada and eventually reclaimed their stash. They later filed a lawsuit in the Silver State, claiming Walden gave a false affidavit of probable cause to prosecutors to justify the seizure. A federal judge threw the case out because the incident took place in Georgia, but a federal appeals court reinstated the case in Nevada.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that Walden did not have sufficient ties to the state of Nevada to warrant a lawsuit there. The Nevada couple argued that in the digital age, such narrow borders should be expanded. The court did not buy that assertion. If the couple chooses to pursue their claim, they will have to refile the lawsuit in Georgia.
According to ABC News, business groups were concerned that the Supreme Court would rule otherwise, opening up the prospects of more interstate lawsuits.
Gina Fiore, described by the Los Angeles Times as a professional gambler, says she will continue the legal fight with her former partner, Keith Gibson.
“We plan to continue the lawsuit in Georgia,” she said. Fiore and Gibson described the money as their “gambling bank.”