Recovering attorneys' fees in Federal forfeiture cases
By pure luck, I came across this, a provision allowing recovery of attorneys' fees in forfeiture cases. It ought to be of great use in gun forfeiture cases at the Federal level.
28 USC §2465(b) provides:
"(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), in any civil proceeding to forfeit property under any provision of Federal law in which the claimant substantially prevails, the United States shall be liable for--
(A) reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by the claimant;
(B) post-judgment interest, as set forth in section 1961 of this title; and
(C) in cases involving currency, other negotiable instruments, or the proceeds of an interlocutory sale--
(i) interest actually paid to the United States from the date of seizure or arrest of the property that resulted from the investment of the property in an interest-bearing account or instrument; and
(ii) an imputed amount of interest that such currency, instruments, or proceeds would have earned at the rate applicable to the 30-day Treasury Bill, for any period during which no interest was paid (not including any period when the property reasonably was in use as evidence in an official proceeding or in conducting scientific tests for the purpose of collecting evidence), commencing 15 days after the property was seized by a Federal law enforcement agency, or was turned over to a Federal law enforcement agency by a State or local law enforcement agency."
The exceptions in (2) cover forfeiture of intangible rights, claimants who were convicted of the offense, and situations where multiple persons are claiming the same property. So it appears that, as a general rule, a prevailing claimant can recover attorneys' fees in a gun forfeiture case.