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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Court Rules For Due Process Over Seized Firearms

The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling this week that a woman whose firearms were seized by law enforcement was entitled to a hearing to have them returned.

Guns.com reports that Christine Panzella of New York had two rifles and three shotguns, along with her pistol license, confiscated by the local sheriff’s office five years ago in response to a temporary protective order filed by her ex-husband. The order expired and the filing was withdrawn, which led to the return of Panzella’s license—but not her firearms. They remain in the armory of the Nassau County Correctional Center.

Panzella filed suit against the sheriff’s office in 2013. The county appealed a district court’s 2015 ruling in favor of Panzella to the 2nd Circuit Court, claiming that she had not been deprived of her right to petition the New York Supreme Court under Article 78 of state law. Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi wrote that an appeal at the county level was preferable: “Such a hearing would provide Panzella with a timely and inexpensive forum to challenge the County’s retention of her long arms and would avoid placing on Panzella the burdens that inhere in an Article 78 proceeding.”