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Henderson v. United States

Docket No.: 13-1487
Certiorari Granted: Oct 20 2014
Argued: February 24, 2015
Decided: 5/18/15


equitable relief, property rights

PartyNames: Tony Henderson v. United States
Petitioner: Tony Henderson
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Citation: 555 Fed.Appx. 851
Supreme Court Docket

Tony Henderson
United States
Question Presented:

"The general rule is that seized property, other than contraband, should be returned to its rightful owner once * * * criminal proceedings have terminated." Cooper v. City of Greenwood, 904 F.2d 302, 304 (5th Cir. 1990) (quoting United States v. Farrell, 606 F.2d 1341, 1343 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (quoting United States v. La Fatch, 565 F.2d 81, 83 (6th Cir. 1977)). 18 U.S.C. 922(g) makes it "unlawful for any person * * * who has been convicted in any court of[] a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year * * * to * * * possess * * * any firearm." The question presented is whether such a conviction prevents a court under Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or under general equity principles from ordering that the government (1) transfer non--contraband firearms to an unrelated third party to whom the defendant has sold all his property interests or (2) sell the firearms for the benefit of the defendant. The Second, Fifth, and Seventh Circuits and the Montana Supreme Court all allow lower courts to order such transfers or sales; the Third, Sixth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits, by contrast, bar them.

Henderson v. United States

February 24, 2015

Listen to Oral Argument in Henderson v. United States
Vote: 9-0
Majority: unanimous
Opinion By:

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Henderson v. United States
Case Documents

1Slip Opinion in Henderson v. United States (Opinion by Justice Elena Kagan)
2Henderson v. United States Oral Argument Audio
3Henderson v. United States Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)