The First Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined there was a question of fact whether forfeiture of defendant’s vehicle would impose an excessive hardship and would constitute an constitutionally impermissible excessive fine. Defendant pled guilty to possession of a weapon which was found in his vehicle:
Plaintiff established by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant, the registered and titled owner of the vehicle, who pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a firearm, used the vehicle as a means of committing the crime of criminal possession of a firearm … .
In opposition, defendant, acting pro se, submitted an affidavit and supporting evidence in support of his argument that forfeiture of the vehicle, which he needed for getting to work with his tools and picking up his children from school, would impose an excessive and tremendous hardship on him and his family, particularly given that this is his sole criminal offense, and in light of other mitigating facts. This evidence is sufficient to raise an issue of fact as to whether, under all the factual circumstances, civil forfeiture of the vehicle would be grossly disproportionate to the offense and therefore a constitutionally impermissible excessive fine … . Property Clerk, N.Y. City Police Dept. v Nurse, 2020 NY Slip Op 03866, First Dept 7-9-20