California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC CA HLTH & S § 11488.5

(a)(1) Any person claiming an interest in the property seized pursuant to Section 11488 may, unless for good cause shown the court extends the time for filing, at any time within 30 days from the date of the last publication of the notice of seizure, if that person was not personally served or served by mail, or within 30 days after receipt of actual notice, file with the superior court of the county in which the defendant has been charged with the underlying or related criminal offense or in which the property was seized or, if there was no seizure, in which the property is located, a claim, verified in accordance with Section 446 of the Code of Civil Procedure , stating his or her interest in the property.  An endorsed copy of the claim shall be served by the claimant on the Attorney General or district attorney, as appropriate, within 30 days of the filing of the claim.  The Judicial Council shall develop and approve official forms for the verified claim that is to be filed pursuant to this section.  The official forms shall be drafted in nontechnical language, in English and in Spanish, and shall be made available through the office of the clerk of the appropriate court.

(2) Any person who claims that the property was assigned to him or to her prior to the seizure or notification of pending forfeiture of the property under this chapter, whichever occurs last, shall file a claim with the court and prosecuting agency pursuant to Section 11488.5 declaring an interest in that property and that interest shall be adjudicated at the forfeiture hearing.  The property shall remain under control of the law enforcement or prosecutorial agency until the adjudication of the forfeiture hearing.  Seized property shall be protected and its value shall be preserved pending the outcome of the forfeiture proceedings.

(3) The clerk of the court shall not charge or collect a fee for the filing of a claim in any case in which the value of the respondent property as specified in the notice is five thousand dollars ($5,000) or less.  If the value of the property, as specified in the notice, is more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the clerk of the court shall charge the filing fee specified in Section 70611 of the Government Code .

(4) The claim of a law enforcement agency to property seized pursuant to Section 11488 or subject to forfeiture shall have priority over a claim to the seized or forfeitable property made by the Franchise Tax Board in a notice to withhold issued pursuant to Section 18817 or 26132 of the Revenue and Taxation Code .

(b)(1) If at the end of the time set forth in subdivision (a) there is no claim on file, the court, upon motion, shall declare the property seized or subject to forfeiture pursuant to subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, of Section 11470 forfeited to the state.  In moving for a default judgment pursuant to this subdivision, the state or local governmental entity shall be required to establish a prima facie case in support of its petition for forfeiture.  There is no requirement for forfeiture thereof that a criminal conviction be obtained in an underlying or related criminal offense.

(2) The court shall order the money forfeited or the proceeds of the sale of property to be distributed as set forth in Section 11489 .

(c)(1) If a verified claim is filed, the forfeiture proceeding shall be set for hearing on a day not less than 30 days therefrom, and the proceeding shall have priority over other civil cases.  Notice of the hearing shall be given in the same manner as provided in Section 11488.4 .  Such a verified claim or a claim filed pursuant to subdivision (j) of Section 11488.4 shall not be admissible in the proceedings regarding the underlying or related criminal offense set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11488 .

(2) The hearing shall be by jury, unless waived by consent of all parties.

(3) The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply to proceedings under this chapter unless otherwise inconsistent with the provisions or procedures set forth in this chapter.  However, in proceedings under this chapter, there shall be no joinder of actions, coordination of actions, except for forfeiture proceedings, or cross-complaints, and the issues shall be limited strictly to the questions related to this chapter.

(d)(1) At the hearing, the state or local governmental entity shall have the burden of establishing, pursuant to subdivision (i) of Section 11488.4 , that the owner of any interest in the seized property consented to the use of the property with knowledge that it would be or was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted, in accordance with the burden of proof set forth in subdivision (i) of Section 11488.4 .

(2) No interest in the seized property shall be affected by a forfeiture decree under this section unless the state or local governmental entity has proven that the owner of that interest consented to the use of the property with knowledge that it would be or was used for the purpose charged.  Forfeiture shall be ordered when, at the hearing, the state or local governmental entity has shown that the assets in question are subject to forfeiture pursuant to Section 11470 , in accordance with the burden of proof set forth in subdivision (i) of Section 11488.4 .

(e) The forfeiture hearing shall be continued upon motion of the prosecution or the defendant until after a verdict of guilty on any criminal charges specified in this chapter and pending against the defendant have been decided.  The forfeiture hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Sections 190 to 222.5 , inclusive, Sections 224 to 234 , inclusive, Section 237 , and Sections 607 to 630, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure if a trial by jury, and by Sections 631 to 636, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure if by the court.  Unless the court or jury finds that the seized property was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted, the court shall order the seized property released to the person it determines is entitled thereto.

If the court or jury finds that the seized property was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted, but does not find that a person claiming an interest therein, to which the court has determined he or she is entitled, had actual knowledge that the seized property would be or was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted and consented to that use, the court shall order the seized property released to the claimant.

(f) All seized property which was the subject of a contested forfeiture hearing and which was not released by the court to a claimant shall be declared by the court to be forfeited to the state, provided the burden of proof required pursuant to subdivision (i) of Section 11488.4 has been met.  The court shall order the forfeited property to be distributed as set forth in Section 11489 .

(g) All seized property which was the subject of the forfeiture hearing and which was not forfeited shall remain subject to any order to withhold issued with respect to the property by the Franchise Tax Board.


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