University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In the Matter of: Monies Described in Appendix One to the Supporting Affidavit IM-AZ-0008
Docket / Court SW 2006-002213 ( State Court )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused ... read more >
In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused on amounts over $500 which were believed to have been sent as payments to Mexican smugglers who have transported people or drugs into Arizona.

On September 18, 2006, an investigator working for the Arizona Attorney General informed Western Union that it presented a seizure warrant to the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County, seeking forfeiture of certain person-to-person money transfers sent from 28 different states, other than Arizona, to Mexico. The application was held under seal until three days later, when the Superior Court issued the seizure warrant. Western Union then filed an emergency motion to quash and stay the warrant.

In a separate proceeding, Western Union filed a ยง 1983 lawsuit on September 19, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in a further attempt to block the threatened seizures. Documents for that case are found in IM-AZ-0007.

On September 25, 2006, the Maricopa County Superior Court (Judge Kenneth L. Fields) entered an order staying the seizure warrant until further review by the Court. Following the submission of briefs by the parties and an evidentiary hearing in November 2006, Judge Fields quashed the seizure warrant and entered a preliminary injunction. Judge Fields found that the State of Arizona had no jurisdiction over the transfer of funds from states other than Arizona and that the seizure warrant therefore violated Arizona state law and the U.S. Constitution. The State appealed.

On July 1, 2008, the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Superior Court, holding that "if a foreign corporation is subject to general in personam jurisdiction in Arizona, its debts can be considered within this state for purposes of in rem jurisdiction." The Court also held that the seizure warrant did not violate the Constitution. State v. W. Union Fin. Servs., Inc., 199 P.3d 592 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2008). Western Union petitioned the Supreme Court of Arizona for review.

On June 3, 2009, the Supreme Court of Arizona vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, holding that, under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, Arizona lacked in rem jurisdiction to seize wire transfers sent from other states to Mexico. The Court held that "a necessary prerequisite to in rem jurisdiction is location of the subject property within the forum state," and refused to conclude that "the property seized here, although in electronic form, is itself located in Arizona simply because Western Union can be sued here." State v. W. Union Fin. Servs., Inc., 208 P.3d 218 (Ariz. 2009) (en banc).

Following remand, the Superior Court entered a stipulation of the parties vacating the order quashing the seizure warrant and preliminary injunction, releasing the seized property, and dismissing the case.

Dan Dalton - 09/17/2007
Dan Whitman - 03/28/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Search policies
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Western Union Financial Services, Inc.
Plaintiff Description State of Arizona
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2007 - 2010
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-AZ-0006 : Western Union Financial Services, Inc. v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007 : Torres v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0009 : State ex rel. Goddard v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc. (State Court)
SW 2006-002213 (State Trial Court)
IM-AZ-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2014
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Order Quashing September 21,2006 Seizure Warrant and Preliminary Injunction
IM-AZ-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2007
Court of Appeals Opinion (199 P.3d 592)
IM-AZ-0008-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/01/2008
Source: State Court Website
Arizona Supreme Court Opinion (208 P.3d 218)
IM-AZ-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/03/2009
Source: State Court Website
Judges Brown, Michael J. (State Appellate Court)
Espinosa, Philip G. (State Appellate Court)
Fields, Kenneth L. (State Trial Court)
Norris, Patricia K. (State Appellate Court)
Scott Timmer, Ann A. (State Appellate Court, State Supreme Court)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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