Mississippi Code Title 41. Public Health § 41-29-179. Forfeiture hearings;  summary forfeiture




(1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 41-29-176, an owner of property, other than a controlled substance, raw material or paraphernalia, that has been seized shall file an answer within thirty (30) days after the completion of service of process.  If an answer is not filed, the court shall hear evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture and forfeit the property to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency.  If an answer is filed, a time for hearing on forfeiture shall be set within thirty (30) days of filing the answer or at the succeeding term of court if court would not be in progress within thirty (30) days after filing the answer.  Provided, however, that upon request by the Bureau of Narcotics, the local law enforcement agency or the owner of the property, the court may postpone said forfeiture hearing to a date past the time any criminal action is pending against said owner.

(2) If the owner of the property has filed an answer denying that the property is subject to forfeiture, then the burden is on the petitioner to prove that the property is subject to forfeiture.  However, if an answer has not been filed by the owner of the property, the petition for forfeiture may be introduced into evidence and is prima facie evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture.  The standard of proof placed upon the petitioner in regard to property forfeited under the provisions of this article shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

(3) At the hearing any claimant of any right, title or interest in the property may prove his lien, encumbrance, security interest, other interest in the nature of a security interest, mortgage or deed of trust to be bona fide and created without knowledge or consent that the property was to be used so as to cause the property to be subject to forfeiture.

(4) If it is found that the property is subject to forfeiture, then the judge shall forfeit the property to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency.  However, if proof at the hearing discloses that the interest of any bona fide lienholder, secured party, other person holding an interest in the property in the nature of a security interest, or any holder of a bona fide encumbrance, mortgage or deed of trust is greater than or equal to the present value of the property, the court shall order the property released to him.  If such interest is less than the present value of the property and if the proof shows that the property is subject to forfeiture, the court shall order the property forfeited to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency.

(5) Upon a petition filed in the name of the State of Mississippi, the county or the municipality with the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the seizure of any controlled substance or raw material is made, the circuit court having jurisdiction may order the controlled substance or raw material summarily forfeited except when lawful possession and title can be ascertained.  If a person is found to have had lawful possession and title prior to seizure, the court shall order the controlled substance or raw material returned to the owner, if the owner so desires.  Upon a petition filed in the name of the State of Mississippi, the county or the municipality with the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the seizure of any purported paraphernalia is made, the circuit court having jurisdiction may order such seized property summarily forfeited when the court has determined the seized property to be paraphernalia as defined in Section 41-29-105(v).


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