Patel v. State of Georgia
The Hall County Sheriff's Department was informed that the owners of a local gas station were paying out cash to winners of the store's coin-operated amusement machines, in contravention of state law. Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant and seized over $12,000 in case from the store. The state then filed a complaint for forfeiture in rem pursuant to state law. The trial court approved the forfeiture and the defendants appealed claiming that the coin-operated amusement machines were not "gambling devices" under Georgia law. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the coin-operated amusement machines were gambling machines under Georgia law but that state law provided an exception when they were used for specific purposes. The court held that the defendants utilized the machines outside the granted exceptions in state law and state law permitted the state to seize, via forfeiture, any property located in the state which was directly, indirectly, used or intended for use to violate gambling laws.