Case: In the Matter of: Monies Described in Appendix One to the Supporting Affidavit

06-02213 | Arizona state trial court

Filed Date: Sept. 19, 2006

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused on amounts over $500 which were believed to have been sent as payments to Mexican smugglers who have transported people or drugs into Arizona.On September 18, 2006, an investigator working for the Ariz…

In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused on amounts over $500 which were believed to have been sent as payments to Mexican smugglers who have transported people or drugs into Arizona.

On September 18, 2006, an investigator working for the Arizona Attorney General informed Western Union that it presented a seizure warrant to the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County, seeking forfeiture of certain person-to-person money transfers sent from 28 different states, other than Arizona, to Mexico. The application was held under seal until three days later, when the Superior Court issued the seizure warrant. Western Union then filed an emergency motion to quash and stay the warrant.

In a separate proceeding, Western Union filed a § 1983 lawsuit on September 19, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in a further attempt to block the threatened seizures. Documents for that case are found in IM-AZ-0007.

On September 25, 2006, the Maricopa County Superior Court (Judge Kenneth L. Fields) entered an order staying the seizure warrant until further review by the Court. Following the submission of briefs by the parties and an evidentiary hearing in November 2006, Judge Fields quashed the seizure warrant and entered a preliminary injunction. Judge Fields found that the State of Arizona had no jurisdiction over the transfer of funds from states other than Arizona and that the seizure warrant therefore violated Arizona state law and the U.S. Constitution. The State appealed.

On July 1, 2008, the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Superior Court, holding that "if a foreign corporation is subject to general in personam jurisdiction in Arizona, its debts can be considered within this state for purposes of in rem jurisdiction." The Court also held that the seizure warrant did not violate the Constitution. State v. W. Union Fin. Servs., Inc., 199 P.3d 592 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2008). Western Union petitioned the Supreme Court of Arizona for review.

On June 3, 2009, the Supreme Court of Arizona vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, holding that, under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, Arizona lacked in rem jurisdiction to seize wire transfers sent from other states to Mexico. The Court held that "a necessary prerequisite to in rem jurisdiction is location of the subject property within the forum state," and refused to conclude that "the property seized here, although in electronic form, is itself located in Arizona simply because Western Union can be sued here." State v. W. Union Fin. Servs., Inc., 208 P.3d 218 (Ariz. 2009) (en banc).

Following remand, the Superior Court entered a stipulation of the parties vacating the order quashing the seizure warrant and preliminary injunction, releasing the seized property, and dismissing the case.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (9/17/2007)

Dan Whitman (3/28/2015)

Related Cases

Western Union Financial Services, Inc. v. Goddard, District of Arizona (2006)

Torres v. Goddard, District of Arizona (2006)

State ex rel. Goddard v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc., Arizona state trial court (2006)

People


Judge(s)

Brown, Michael J. (Arizona)

Espinosa, Philip G. (Arizona)

Fields, Kenneth L. (Arizona)

Norris, Patricia K. (Arizona)

Scott Timmer, Ann A. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Holmes, Cameron H. (Arizona)

Lepley, Stephen C. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Burke, Francis J. (Arizona)

Ellis, Steven A. (California)

Gottlieb, Stacey Faith (Arizona)

Judge(s)

Brown, Michael J. (Arizona)

Espinosa, Philip G. (Arizona)

Fields, Kenneth L. (Arizona)

Norris, Patricia K. (Arizona)

Scott Timmer, Ann A. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Holmes, Cameron H. (Arizona)

Lepley, Stephen C. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Burke, Francis J. (Arizona)

Ellis, Steven A. (California)

Gottlieb, Stacey Faith (Arizona)

Grad, Richard J. (California)

Haddad, Mark E. (California)

Tilleman, Karl M. (Arizona)

Wheeless, Steven D. (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (State Court)

Dec. 2, 2014 Docket

Order Quashing September 21,2006 Seizure Warrant and Preliminary Injunction

In the Matter of: Monies Described in Appendix One to the Supporting Affidavit

Jan. 8, 2007 Order/Opinion

Court of Appeals Opinion

State of Arizona v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc.

Arizona state appellate court

199 P.3d 592

July 1, 2008 Order/Opinion

Arizona Supreme Court Opinion

State of Arizona v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc.

Arizona state appellate court

208 P.3d 218

June 3, 2009 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Arizona

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 19, 2006

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

State of Arizona

Plaintiff Type(s):

State Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Western Union Financial Services, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 0

Order Duration: 2007 - 2010

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Search policies

Immigration/Border:

Constitutional rights

Criminal prosecution