the contents thereof, and any and all currency, monetary instruments, and investment documents located at" three addresses. Reasonableness is the key. "The description must be as particular as the circumstances reasonably permit." Bentley, 825 F.2d at 1110. Under these circumstances, the warrants mirrored one of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture's probable cause allegations. (Verified Complaint for Forfeiture, No. 91 C 5783, P 29.) The items in the warrant, in fact, constitute defendant property. The description under these circumstances is as particular as required. See Bentley, 825 F.2d at 1110.
Accordingly, the court finds that the three warrants at issue meet the particularity requirement of the Fourth Amendment.
IV. COVERAGE ISSUES
The remaining task is to determine whether the seven contested items were covered. The court refers to these items by exhibit numbers, as listed in the Government's Amended Response.
A. Government Exhibit 1: Informal Promissory Note
Government Exhibit 1 is a short note dated August 21, 1991, and apparently signed by Wayne M. Dennis. The note reads: "This is a promissory note that Wayne M. Dennis owes Clem Messino $ 20,000." The court holds the item is covered by a warrant. The relevant warrant covers, in pertinent part, "any and all currency, monetary instruments, and investment documents." Defendant argues that the inability of the note to be enforced or transferred is a barrier to considering it seizable under the warrant. But it is reasonable under the circumstances for an officer to seize such an item as a monetary instrument or investment document. To hold otherwise would be to impose on seizing officers a duty under these circumstances to fully evaluate whether a monetary instrument may be easily enforced before seizing it. The court makes no holding as to the effect of negotiability on seizure pursuant to civil forfeiture of assets. This is not a commercial paper question, it is a Fourth Amendment reasonableness question. The court holds Exhibit 1, regardless of the ease with which it could be negotiated, was reasonably seized.
B. Government Exhibits 2, 4, 5, and 6
Government Exhibits 2, 4, 5, and 6 are cashier's check receipts, copies of checks, and bank statements and materials. Indisputably they have no value in and of themselves; rather they are evidence of there being something valuable, which is not the same thing, as discussed above. It was therefore not reasonable to seize the items based on direct coverage of a warrant. It could be said that the same thesis that avoids suppression of Exhibit 1 should avoid suppression on these exhibits. But even casual examination of these exhibits, unlike that of Exhibit 1, leads to the conclusion that these exhibits are not covered by a warrant. Accordingly, said exhibits are not covered by a seizure warrant, and are suppressed as evidence.
C. Government Exhibit 3: Correspondence and Invoices Related to Automobile Restoration
These documents and objects (the exhibit includes license plates), are simply not monetary investments or investment documents (as reasonably contemplated by the warrants read in their context). The documents are in the nature of billing and correspondence regarding billing directed to Clement Messino. One could argue the court's analysis under Exhibit 1 would leave such documents covered. But here it is a much greater stretch to conclude that those documents were seized as monetary instruments or investment documents. Accordingly, said exhibit is not covered by a seizure warrant, and is suppressed as evidence.
D. Government Exhibit 7: Chicago Airlines, Inc., Documents
Government Exhibit 7 is a folder of documents related to investing in a concern called Chicago Airlines, Inc. These documents are related to an investment. But the warrant term "investment documents" must be read in its context. The warrants of seizure and monition were executed pursuant to a civil forfeiture. Defendant persuasively argues that to include documents that relate to or describe an investment would unreasonably stretch the warrants. These were not search warrants for evidence of assets, recall. That said, the only close call is the "UNIT PURCHASE AGREEMENT," or more accurately, the document marked "COPY" of such an agreement. Even assuming the agreement itself could be validly seized, this document is prominently marked "COPY," removing any doubt.
Accordingly, Exhibit 7 is suppressed as evidence.
Defendant Clement A. Messino's Motion to Exclude Evidence Seized During Execution of Warrants of Seizure and Monition Pursuant to Civil Forfeiture Proceedings is granted in part and denied in part. Government Exhibits 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 from oral argument are suppressed as evidence. Further evidence attributable to said exhibits are suppressed according to law. Any taint issues should be raised at the taint hearing previously scheduled.
Date: JAN 12 1995
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge