BEVERLY HILLS—On Tuesday, January 22, the 9th Circut Judge Milan Smith ruled in favor of the plaintiffs regarding the raid on safety deposit boxes at U.S. Private Vaults located at 9182 W. Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Rob Johnson from the local non-profit, the Institute for Justice made the following statement:
“Today’s opinion draws a line in the sand. If this had come out any other way, the government could have exported this raid as a model across the country. No, the government is on notice. Its actions violated the Fourth Amendment.”
Federal agents broke into some 700 vaults and had drug-sniffing dogs search the contents, and reportedly seized some of the money.
In his ruling, Judge Smith called the incident, “particularly troubling.” The warrant issued for the search and seizure of the vaults would not allow FBI agents to search the vaults and confiscate the contents.
“If there remained any doubt regarding whether the government conducted a criminal search or seizure, that doubt is put to rest by the fact the government has already used some of the information from inside the boxes to obtain additional warrants to further its investigation and begin new ones,” Judge Smith stated.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects its citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the U.S. government.
The agents entrusted with the warrant would have been required to follow protocol and take the vaults into custody. Once the vaults of the innocent were searched, their contents would have been returned to the rightful owners once they cleared security.
In Tuesday’s hearing, all records found in the raid were ordered destroyed including copies used for the FBI’s investigation.