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Bennis v. Michigan

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 516 U.S. 442,116 S. Ct. 994, 134 L. Ed. 2d 68,1996 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. A husband used a car he jointly owned with his wife to have sex with a prostitute. The government seeks forfeiture of the car.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. An owner’s interest in property may be forfeited by reason of the use to which to property is put even though the owner did not know how her property was being used.

Facts. Tina Bennis (Petitioner) jointly owned a car with her husband. The police arrested him after observing him having sex with a prostitute in their car. An indecency law states that the government can seek forfeiture of property that is a public nuisance. The government sought to declare the car a public nuisance.

Issue. If an owner of property does not know how her property is being used by another, can the owner’s interest still be forfeited?

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