Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Initial Motions in the ACCG "Test Case" now Before Baltimore Judge

Coin dealer Wayne Sayles ('Briefing Completed on Government’s Motion to Dismiss Test Case') announces that
"The initial motions in the ACCG test case in Baltimore are now before the judge for determination of the next phase. It should be emphasized that the 132 pages of filings attached here are merely the opening phase of this case that will determine whether the case continues. In view of the approach taken by U.S. attorneys to date, it is very likely that the ACCG, U.S. State Department, U.S. Customs and the Department of Justice will be engaged in this litigation for a considerable period of time".
Of that we can all be sure. Peter Tompa explains that the matter is now whether matter comes into the jurisdiction of a court at all. In June "the Government asked a US District Court to dismiss the ACCG’s test case, claiming that the State Department’s [...] decisions to impose import restrictions on Cypriot and Chinese coins were not subject to judicial review". The ACCG insists they are. Interestingly I do not recall the ACCG members and other collectors being explicitly told of the setback in June to the ACCG plans, if this is not a case of lack of 'transparency' in the ACCG itself, I must have missed it.

It now seems therefore that this case is being split into three different elements, the fate of the seized illegally imported "test case" coins with which it began (which has its own complications), whether or not the ruling that may or may not (this too is subject to the court's determination) apply to them was "capricious and arbitrary") - which was the original aim of the test case, and now whether the latter falls under judiciary review at all.

As I said earlier, the State Department is running circles around these clowns. It's a good job that the ACCG's declared assets are apparently much higher than the money it has earnt from two 'benefit auctions', I think this case is going to cost dealers and collectors a pretty penny. Let us remember the fight is all about whether coins imported into the US from source countries should have a piece of paper demonstrating legal export.

For what it is worth, copies of the parties’ briefs (without exhibits) can be downloaded. Whoopee.

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