WILLIE K. JACKSON, Appellant,
MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, Appellee.
from the Superior Court No.3AN-12-11436CI of the State of
Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Eric A. Aarseth,
Jackson, pro se, Appellant.
A. Wheeler, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage, for Appellee.
Before: Stowers, Chief Justice, Fabe, Winfree, and Bolger,
Justices. [Maassen, Justice, not participating.]
STOWERS, Chief Justice.
Anchorage Police Department seized Willie Jackson's
personal property pursuant to arrests in 2004 and charged him
with several state-law felonies, which were later dropped
after he was indicted on federal charges. In December 2012,
nearly eight years after the Anchorage police's initial
seizure of his property, Jackson filed a conversion suit
against the Municipality of Anchorage. In his complaint, he
alleged that the Municipality unlawfully failed to return his
seized property despite a September 2006 order from the U.S.
District Court for the State of Alaska ordering its return.
The Municipality moved to dismiss the case based on the
statute of limitations. The superior court dismissed
Jackson's case under Alaska Civil Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
and Jackson appeals. Because Jackson's complaint alleged
facts which, if proved, are sufficient to entitle him to some
form of relief, we reverse the order dismissing Jackson's
complaint and remand for further proceedings.
FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
2004theAnchoragePoliceDepartment (APD)seized Jackson's
personal property, including cash, coins, a 1990 Oldsmobile,
a wedding ring, and various other items during searches in
conjunction with two arrests. In December 2004, following
Jackson's indictment in the U.S. District Court on
charges related to possession of cocaine and firearms, the
State of Alaska dismissed the Alaska felony criminal charges
it had filed against Jackson.
November 2005 Jackson was convicted of possessing cocaine and
cocaine base and of being a felon in possession of a firearm;
he was sentenced the following March. Approximately a week
after he was sentenced, Jackson filed a request in the
federal court for return of his property and a stay of
forfeiture of any property "until conclusion of all
proceeding[s] resulting from appeal of this [c]ase."
April 2006 U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline granted
Jackson's request, staying the forfeiture of evidence
that was possibly subject to criminal forfeiture pending
appellate review and directing the government to return
Jackson's property not subject to forfeiture.
Approximately five months later, Judge Beistline issued
another order granting Jackson's motion to compel the
return of his property. In November 2006 Assistant U.S.
Attorney David Nesbett filed notice that he had complied with
the order to return the property and had coordinated with
Jackson's counsel to facilitate the return of
Jackson's wedding ring but that APD held all other items
as evidence. In January 2007 Jackson filed a "Notice: Of
Property Held In Contradiction Of Court Order By The
Prosecution et al." asserting that the property seized
during the 2004 arrests - including the 1990 Oldsmobile and
ring - had not been returned to him; he requested its return
or compensation for its monetary value.
2007 Judge Beistline again ordered the "immediate
return" of Jackson's 1990 Oldsmobile and wedding
ring and the return of the remainder of Jackson's
property at "the conclusion of the appellate
process." In April 2010 Jackson filed a petition for
writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court
seeking review of his conviction; his petition was denied in
October 2010, thus concluding the federal appellate process.
2011 Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis filed a status
report explaining that the government had requested that APD
make available to Jackson's designee any of his property
it had seized as evidence related to his federal prosecution.
Feldis informed the court that APD had impounded and then
sold at auction in 2004 the 1990 Oldsmobile and that any
property belonging to Jackson still held by APD would be
applied toward Jackson's outstanding $6,000 debt to the
Municipality. Jackson filed a writ of execution which Judge
Beistline denied in a January 2012 order, which stated
"Defendant's current dispute is with the
Municipality of Anchorage."
filed his complaint against the Municipality in September
2012, alleging that APD converted his property in conjunction
with the 2004 seizure of the property. The Municipality
moved to dismiss Jackson's lawsuit under Alaska Civil
Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Jackson's complaint was
facially deficient because it failed on statute of
limitations grounds. The Municipality asserted that the
events on which Jackson based his conversion claim had
occurred in 2004 and that Jackson's filing deadline
passed several years before he filed his claim
"[r]egardless of any intervening order addressing an
entity which is not now before this [c]ourt." The
Municipality asserted that Jackson's claims were governed
by the two-year statute of limitations set forth in AS
09.10.070, which provides in part:
(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, a person may not
bring an action . . .
(3) for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property,
including an action for its ...