A man who served briefly as Minnesota’s U.S. Senator is engaged in a battle with Twin Cities authorities over his vehicle, which was seized after the relative who was driving it was arrested on suspicion of DWI and other offenses.
Dean Barkley, who was appointed by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura to finish out the term of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, loaned his 1995 GMC Envoy to a relative. That relative was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of drug and alcohol offenses, and the car was seized by authorities.
The relative’s arrest happened in April and Barkley still has not gotten his car back. He has said he had been told it will remain confiscated for another three months or so.
Barkley has been talking about his case to local media because he thinks it’s “outrageous.” Barkley is a lawyer himself, and he has a point when he observes that confiscating property this way presumes guilt. (The relative who was arrested has not yet gone to trial.)
The reason I wanted to write about this story is that it shows that our justice system, as venerable as it is, doesn’t always get it right. It is important that we respect it as an institution, but this “forfeiture” ordeal shines light on an area that may need improvement.
As a Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer, I strive to protect the rights of my clients. It is important to me that I be a thorough and useful advocate to them. If you are interested in having a conversation with a criminal defense attorney, please know that you can contact me at any time.