This module is a resource for lecturers

Role play

Confiscation and interests of third parties

Read the following scenario and follow the instructions below to start the role-play.


Sam decides to move to New York to start a graduate program at one of city's universities, but he does not know where to leave his vintage 2000 Corvette in the city. Parking is expensive in Manhattan and his apartment does not have any parking space available. Sam often fails to find street parking and is also afraid to leave the car parked on the street at night.

A close family friend, Elvis, offers Sam a solution. He suggests that he can care for the car and keep it in his garage in exchange for Sam allowing him to drive it while Sam is away at school. It sounds like the only possible solution, and Sam only hopes that Elvis treats his car gently.

After Sam is away to university for a month, he receives notification that his Corvette has been seized by the U.S. Government in connection to a criminal investigation. It turns out that Elvis has been charged with a criminal offence and used Sam's car to store and transport narcotics. Sam would like to return his car but has no idea how to do it.


  • It is recommended that students are assigned to prepare for the role play in advance. Students are assigned to review the Krimstock hearing. They are recommended to read the following materials:
  • The role play itself should take place in class and should be allocated at least 45 minutes.
    • Students in class are divided into eight groups. Each group is assigned one of the roles below:
    • Elvis
    • Sam
    • Attorney from Lincoln and Lincoln law firm
    • NYPD seizure/arresting officer
    • NYPD Legal Bureau officer/lawyer
    • District attorney (DA)
    • Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) judges

After the role play exercise, students are asked summary questions:

  • What is the standard by which the judge should make his or her decision about whether the car should be confiscated?
  • What reason does the judge have to believe that Sam innocently loaned his car to a close friend?