E.D.N.C.: U.S. v. Cox- In rem Jurisdiction for Judicial Foreclosure


Mr. And Mrs. Cox, through their then attorney, entered into a settlement agreement in a civil forfeiture action brought for the collection of taxes, wherein they agreed to pay the government more than $3 million and granted Deeds of Trust against thirty-five tracts of land located throughout Alabama and North Carolina. After entering into this settlement, the government then initiated criminal prosecution of both of the Coxes and they subsequently pleaded guilty, with Mr. Cox being sentence to 33 months imprisonment, Mrs. Cox to 3 years probation, and each being fined $50,000. The when the Coxes failed to pay the agreed amount (perhaps in part because they were in prison), the government sought to judicially foreclose on the properties.

The Coxes successfully argued that the District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina only had in rem jurisdiction to authorize foreclosure for real property located in its district. Accordingly, the foreclosure actions against properties located elsewhere were dismissed. The judicial foreclosures against the property within the Eastern District was, however, allowed.

The Coxes claims that the criminal prosecution following the civil settlement constituted Double Jeopardy was rejected following United States v. Ursery, 518 U.S. 267 (1996). Their contention that their prior lawyer had no authority to enter into the civil settlement was also rejected, as the district court found that their behavior, including personally signing the Deeds of Trust, clearly indicated that the settlement was authorized.

For a copy of the opinion, please see:

U.S. v. Cox- In rem Jurisdiction for Judicial Foreclosure


1. Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Washington University, 1993. 2. Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University, 1996. Admissions to Practice of Law: North Carolina Bar, 1996. Federal District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. Specialty Certification: North Carolina State Bar: Certified as a Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy. Areas of Practice: Practice limited to consumer and business debtor bankruptcy law, 1998 to present. Memberships: National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (NCATL). North Carolina Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section. Lectures prepared and presented: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers seminar on bankruptcy; Topic: Counseling the Consumer Debtor Prior to Court - C.Y.A. Forms to Help 'Gird They Loins'; 2001. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Preparing Chapter 13 Plans; 2002. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Efficient Office Practices; 2003. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Debates; 2004. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Chapter 7 & 13 Hot Issues; 2004. Positions held: NACBA National Convention; Convention Chair; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator: Topic: Basic Bankruptcy Issues; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Chapter 13-Disposable Income and Other Issues; 2007. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Representing Members of the Military and Their Families; 2007. NACBA, Member of National Board of Directors, 2006 to present. NCATL, Chair of the Bankruptcy Section, 2003 to 2007. NACBA, Chair of the North Carolina Section, 2003 to 2007. NC Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, Bankruptcy Council Member, 2004 to present.

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