419 U.S. 601
Petitioner garnishee sought certiorari review of a judgment from the Supreme Court of Georgia, which held that a state's garnishment statutes were not invalid for failing to provide notice and hearing in connection with the issuance of the writ of garnishment from respondent garnishor.
-Respondent garnished petitioner's bank account pursuant to Ga. Code Ann. §§ 46-101 through 104 and 46-401, which entitled respondent to the process of garnishment in its suit against petitioner absent notice or hearing in connection with issuance of the writ.
-Petitioner argued that the statutory garnishment procedure violated his due process rights under U.S. Const. amend. XIV, but the state supreme court rejected petitioner's claims.
-On certiorari review, the United States Supreme Court reversed, explaining that petitioner's due process rights were violated where the statutory garnishment procedure allowed respondent to obtain a writ issuable on an affidavit containing only conclusory allegations and issuable by a court clerk without participation by a judge.
Further, upon issuance of the writ, petitioner was deprived of the use of his property without notice or hearing at which respondent would be required to demonstrate at least probable cause for the garnishment. The Court explained that the probability of irreparable injury was sufficiently great so as to require some procedures to guard against the risk of initial error in issuing the writ.
U.S. Const. amendment XIV draws no bright lines around three-day, 10-day, or 50-day deprivations of property. Any significant taking of property by the state is within the purview of the due process clause
OUTCOME: The Court reversed, holding that petitioner's due process rights were violated by the statutory garnishment procedure that permitted respondent to obtain a writ of garnishment based solely on an affidavit containing conclusory allegations and issued by a clerk without a judge's participation that operated to deprive petitioner of his property without notice or a hearing. The case was remanded for further proceedings.
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