Calero-Toledo v. Pearson Yacht Leasing Company

PETITIONER: Calero-Toledo
RESPONDENT: Pearson Yacht Leasing Company
LOCATION: Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 73-157
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)

CITATION: 416 US 663 (1974)
ARGUED: Jan 07, 1974
DECIDED: May 15, 1974

Gustavo A. Gelpi - for appellee
Lynn R. Coleman - for appellants

Facts of the case


Media for Calero-Toledo v. Pearson Yacht Leasing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 07, 1974 in Calero-Toledo v. Pearson Yacht Leasing Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 15, 1974 in Calero-Toledo v. Pearson Yacht Leasing Company

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

In the second case, Calero-Toledo, a Three-Judge Federal District Court held unconstitutional Puerto Rican forfeiture statutes, as applied in this case.

A yacht, owned by the appellee, was seized and fortified by Puerto Rican authorities when drugs were discovered aboard the yacht when located in Puerto Rican waters.

The authorities gave no prior notice of their intent to seize the yacht and appellee, the lessor, was innocent of any knowledge of the lessee’s wrongful use of it.

The Three-Judge Court held that the statute’s failure to provide for pre-seizure notice rendered them unconstitutional for lack of procedural due process and further held that it is applied in forfeit the interest of the lessor, innocent of knowledge of wrongful use, the statute is unconstitutionally deprived an innocent party of property without just compensation.

We disagree, and for reasons expressed in the opinion filed today, reverse.

Mr. Justice White filed a concurring opinion, in which Mr. Justice Powell has joined; Mr. Justice Douglas dissents and has filed a dissenting opinion; Mr. Justice Stewart joins parts one and two of the Court's opinion, but for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Douglas, he would hold that the forfeiture of property belonging to an innocent and non negligent owner violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Brennan.