Municipalities Lack Standing to Prosecute Forfeiture Action

Barfield v. City of Demopolis, [Ms. 2210350, Sep. 23, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2022). The court (Fridy, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Edwards, and Hanson, JJ., concur) dismisses Michael Brandon Barfield’s appeal from a default judgment the Marengo Circuit Court entered in favor of the City of Demopolis (“the city”) in its civil forfeiture action against him.

The court holds that under binding Supreme Court authority construing “§ 20-2-93 [, Ala. Code 1975], only the county, through the district attorney’s office, or the state, through the attorney general’s office, had standing to bring the forfeiture action against [Barfield].” Ms. *6. “‘When a party without standing purports to commence an action, the trial court does not obtain subject-matter jurisdiction.’” Ms. *9, quoting State v. Property at 2018 Rainbow Drive, 740 So. 2d 1025, 1028 (Ala. 1999).

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