(Mynews4.com, Reno NV)
The Humboldt County District Attorney has announced it will review every case involving cash seizures to make sure it's office is following proper procedures in these cases.
The news comes after Humboldt County just paid to settle two claims filed by motorists who accused the sheriff's office of violating their civil rights by seizing their money during routine traffic stops.
The county reimbursed one driver, Tan Nguyen, after taking $50,000 from him and also paid Nguyen $10,000 to cover his attorneys fees. Nguyen had filed a lawsuit against the county in federal court.
Nguyen's attorney John Ohlson credited News 4's recent On Your Side investigation into this story for helping prompt county officials to settle the case.
"You file a lawsuit and it can go unnoticed. And unless first ammendment fellows like you get out there and bring things to light government's not naturally transparent. You've got to shine a light on them," Ohlson said.
Ohlson also said there was no reason his client should have had his money taken in the first place.
"I think the really telling point is that he wasn't charged with anything," Ohlson said. "He had no drugs in his car. The pretext for stopping him is that he was doing 78 in a 75."
The Humboldt County District Attorney released a statement Friday afternoon saying the sheriff's office followed protocol in seizing the money but questions have come up about how the cases were handled once they arrived at the district attorney's office. A full review is underway to determine whether policies were followed in all cases where money was seized from motorists during traffic stops.