Submitted: March 13, 2018
Appeals from United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Arkansas - Little Rock
WOLLMAN, SHEPHERD, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Dr. Randeep Mann's federal conviction in the bombing of
Dr. Trent Pierce, the United States filed two civil
forfeiture actions against weapons seized from Dr. Mann
during the criminal investigation. In the first action, the
district courtordered forfeiture of an unregistered 12
gauge shotgun ("shotgun") to the United
States. In the second, the district court denied
forfeiture of 93 National Firearms Act regulated weapons
("93 weapons"), but ordered the 93 weapons to be
sold at auction and the proceeds to be paid to Dr.
Pierce. Dr. Mann appeals the first order granting
forfeiture, and both he and his wife, Sangeeta Mann, appeal
the second order disposing of the 93 weapons. We affirm.
February 4, 2009, Dr. Pierce, the then-chairman of the
Arkansas State Medical Board ("Board"), was
severely and permanently injured by a bomb consisting of a
grenade concealed in a spare tire which was placed against
his vehicle outside his West Memphis, Arkansas home. Law
enforcement identified Dr. Mann as a potential suspect, as he
was one of five doctors who had been disciplined by the Board
within the previous five years. By chance, on March 3, 2009,
city workers discovered 98 grenades buried in a wooded area
near the Russellville, Arkansas home Dr. Mann shared with his
enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the Mann
residence where they discovered numerous weapons, including
the shotgun and 93 National Firearms Act regulated weapons,
consisting of 76 machine guns, 10 silencers, 5 auto sears,
and 2 receivers. After determining several weapons-including
the shotgun-were not properly registered as required by law,
officers seized the unregistered firearms and arrested Dr.
Mann. Following his arrest, the 93 weapons, which were titled
and registered in the name of Dr. Mann or his solely owned
company, remained at the Mann residence. Because only a Class
III federal firearms licensee can lawfully possess these
weapons, the United States advised Mrs. Mann she might be in
unlawful possession. The United States later obtained a
warrant and seized the 93 weapons as evidence in Dr.
Mann's criminal case.
convicted Dr. Mann on seven charges: two involving the
bombing, three involving the illegal possession of weapons,
and two involving obstruction of justice. The jury did not,
however, convict Dr. Mann for illegal possession of the
shotgun. The district court sentenced Dr. Mann to life
imprisonment. In a separate criminal proceeding, Mrs. Mann
was also convicted on charges of obstructing justice in Dr.
Mann's criminal case.
Mann appealed his conviction and sentence, which this Court
mostly affirmed. See United States v. Mann, 701 F.3d
274, 311 (8th Cir. 2012). He then sought post-conviction relief
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The district court denied his
claims, which included arguments that the United States
perpetrated fraud on the court by planting evidence and
fabricating a story to obtain a search warrant for his
residence. Mann v. United States, No. 4:09CR00099
(BSM), 2016 WL 4500779, at *4 (E.D. Ark. Aug. 26, 2016). The
district court found these arguments were procedurally
defaulted because they were not presented on direct appeal
and Dr. Mann could not show prejudice or actual innocence.
Id. Dr. Mann appealed, but this Court declined to
issue a certificate of appealability.
separate Arkansas civil action, Dr. Pierce obtained a
judgment of $122, 500, 000 against Dr. Mann for the injuries
he sustained in the bombing. The judgment was registered in
Pulaski County, Arkansas, and a writ of execution was issued
directing the Pulaski County Sheriff to seize the 93 weapons.
The writ was served on the United States, but was returned
Dr. Mann's criminal convictions, the government filed two
civil forfeiture actions: one against the shotgun and one
against the 93 weapons. During discovery in both, Dr. Mann
attempted to prove the United States perpetrated fraud on the
court in his underlying criminal case. In response, the
United States obtained a protective order in each forfeiture
action, which quashed all discovery targeted at developing
Dr. Mann's fraud on the court argument rather than
exploring the facts of possession for purposes of forfeiture.
bench trial based on stipulated facts, the district court
ordered forfeiture of the shotgun to the United States. The
court found there was no proof of Dr. Mann's claim that a
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
("ATF") officer told him he could possess the
shotgun without registering it. Dr. Mann appeals the
separate bench trial, the district court denied forfeiture of
the 93 weapons. However, because Dr. Mann could not lawfully
possess the weapons as a convicted felon, the court ordered
the weapons sold at auction. The court found Dr. Mann was not
entitled to the proceeds of the sale due to Dr. Pierce's
Arkansas civil judgment against him. The court found Mrs.
Mann lacked the requisite ownership interest to establish
standing to claim 50 percent of the proceeds of the sale.
Thus, the district court ordered 100 percent of the proceeds
from the sale of the weapons to be paid to Dr. Pierce in
partial satisfaction of his civil judgment against Dr. Mann.
Dr. and Mrs. Mann both appeal.
Mann first alleges the United States perpetrated fraud on the
court in his underlying criminal case. Had this fraud not
occurred, he insists, the shotgun and 93 weapons would not
have been seized and would therefore not be subject to
forfeiture. Dr. Mann also alleges the district court erred in
both forfeiture actions by limiting the discovery necessary
to prove this fraud. Dr. Mann next challenges the district
court's order granting forfeiture of the shotgun,
claiming civil forfeiture is barred by his acquittal on the
charge of illegally possessing the shotgun. Finally, Dr. and