Court: No constitutional right to own trucks

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A fleet owner whose trucks were seized as part of a criminal investigation does not have a constitutional right to have those trucks returned to him, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled. The asserted rights to engage in business and own trucks “are more similar to the type of intangible employment rights that this Court has rejected as not protected by substantive due process than the real property interests which can be protected by substantive due process,” the court said.

This case arises out of the civil forfeiture of certain Wrench Transportation Systems Inc. trucks seized in connection with a New Jersey state criminal investigation about the illegal transport of waste oil. Owner James Malone claimed that the defendants – New Jersey state investigators – violated his substantive due process rights when they allegedly refused to return the vehicles unless Malone signed a release and provided testimony for them in connection with the criminal investigation.

For a copy of the decision, click here.