Assigned on Briefs June 1, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 16-0337-IV
Russell T. Perkins, Chancellor
owner of a truck was charged with driving on a revoked
license, and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland
Security initiated a proceeding to forfeit the truck. An
administrative hearing was held, which resulted in an order
that the truck be forfeited. The owner sought review of the
forfeiture in Chancery Court pursuant to the Administrative
Procedures Act, and the court affirmed the forfeiture.
Finding that the seizure of the truck constituted an
excessive fine in violation of the United States and
Tennessee Constitutions, we reverse the judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Reversed; Case Remanded
Thurman, Dyer, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Andrée Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Brooke K.
Schiferle, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee,
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and J. Steven Stafford,
P.J., W.S., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE.
Facts and Procedural History
April 27, 2015, Sergeant David Paschall of the Dyer Police
Department stopped Mr. Bruce Thurman for speeding; in the
course of the stop, Sergeant Paschall requested that Mr.
Thurman produce his driver's license and vehicle
registration. Mr. Thurman was unable to do so but gave his
name and other information, which Sergeant Paschall relayed
to the central police department for investigation. The
inquiry revealed that Mr. Thurman's license had been
revoked by the State of Illinois on May 12, 2013, following a
conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Sergeant Paschall arrested Mr. Thurman and charged him with
driving on a revoked license, third offense. On April 30 a
warrant authorizing the initiation of a forfeiture proceeding
was issued, and his truck was seized.
Thurman timely filed a petition for a hearing on the
forfeiture with the Tennessee Department of Safety
("TDS"), in accordance with the procedures at
Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-33-201, et seq.
A hearing was held before an administrative judge, who issued
an Initial Order upholding the seizure of Mr. Thurman's
truck and ordering its forfeiture to the Dyer Police
Department. Mr. Thurman filed a petition for reconsideration;
the administrative judge did not act on the petition, and it
was deemed denied pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated
section 4-5-317(c). Mr. Thurman appealed the Initial Order to
TDS in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section
4-5-315, and a Final Order was entered on February 23, 2016,
by the Commissioner's designee affirming the initial
order and forfeiture.
April 6, 2016, Mr. Thurman filed a petition in Davidson
County Chancery Court seeking judicial review of the TDS
Final Order pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section
4-5-322. In due course, the administrative record was filed,
and on October 11, 2016, the court entered a Memorandum and
Final Order, denying the petition and affirming the
forfeiture. Mr. Thurman appeals, articulating these issues:
1. The State's seizure of claimant's vehicle is a
violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States
2. The State's argument that claimant's raising of
constitutional arguments were time barred is
II. Standard of Review
Code Annotated section 4-5-322 allows for judicial review of
agency decisions in chancery court; appeals to this Court are
allowed pursuant to section 4-5-323. This Court, as well as
the trial court, reviews the Commission's decision under
the narrowly defined standard of review set forth at section
The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the
case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify
the decision if the rights of the petitioner have been
prejudiced because the administrative ...