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• How does the government seize your property and keep it?
    The Mississippi Code has a number of forfeiture provisions but the one I am most familiar with...
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• How does the government seize your property and keep it?
    The Mississippi Code has a number of forfeiture provisions but the one I am most familiar with...
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How does the government seize your property and keep it?
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 The Mississippi Code has a number of forfeiture provisions but the one I am most familiar with are the ones contained in the drug statutes.  

41-29-153 lists what can be seized.  41-29-176 lists out the provisions of how property under $10,000 may be forfeited.  41-29-177 lists out the provisions of how property over $10,000 may be forfeited.



41-29-153 Forfeitures
      (a) The following are subject to forfeiture: 
      (1) All controlled substances which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed or acquired in violation of this article; 
      (2) All raw materials, products and equipment of any kind which are used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing, or exporting any controlled substance in violation of this article; 
      (3) All property which is used, or intended for use, as a container for property described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this section; 
      (4) All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, which are used, or intended for use, to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, sale, receipt, possession or concealment of property described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this section, however: 
      A. No conveyance used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as a common carrier is subject to forfeiture under this section unless it appears that the owner or other person in charge of the conveyance is a consenting party or privy to a violation of this article; 
      B. No conveyance is subject to forfeiture under this section by reason of any act or omission proved by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted without his knowledge or consent; if the confiscating authority has reason to believe that the conveyance is a leased or rented conveyance, then the confiscating authority shall notify the owner of the conveyance within five (5) days of the confiscation; 
      C. A forfeiture of a conveyance encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party if he neither had knowledge of nor consented to the act or omission; 
      D. A conveyance is not subject to forfeiture for a violation of Section 41-29-139(c)(2)(A), (B) or (C); 
      (5) All money, deadly weapons, books, records, and research products and materials, including formulas, microfilm, tapes and data which are used, or intended for use, in violation of this article; 
      (6) All drug paraphernalia as defined in Section 41-29-105(v); and 
      (7) Everything of value, including real estate, furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of this article, all proceeds traceable to such an exchange, and all monies, negotiable instruments, businesses or business investments, securities, and other things of value used, or intended to be used, to facilitate any violation of this article. All monies, coin and currency found in close proximity to forfeitable controlled substances, to forfeitable drug manufacturing or distributing paraphernalia, or to forfeitable records of the importation, manufacture or distribution of controlled substances are presumed to be forfeitable under this paragraph; the burden of proof is upon claimants of the property to rebut this presumption. 
      A. No property shall be forfeited under the provisions of paragraph (a)(7) of this section, to the extent of the interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by him to have been committed or omitted without his knowledge or consent. 
      B. Neither personal property encumbered by a bona fide security interest nor real estate encumbered by a bona fide mortgage, deed of trust, lien or encumbrance shall be forfeited under the provisions of paragraph (a)(7) of this section, to the extent of the interest of the secured party or the interest of the mortgagee, holder of a deed of trust, lien or encumbrance by reason of any act or omission established by him to have been committed or omitted without his knowledge or consent. 
      (b) Property subject to forfeiture may be seized by the bureau, local law enforcement officers, enforcement officers of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, highway patrolmen, the board, or the State Board of Pharmacy upon process issued by any appropriate court having jurisdiction over the property. Seizure without process may be made if: 
      (1) The seizure is incident to an arrest or a search under a search warrant or an inspection under an administrative inspection warrant; 
      (2) The property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding based upon this article; 
      (3) The bureau, the board, local law enforcement officers, enforcement officers of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, or highway patrolmen, or the State Board of Pharmacy have probable cause to believe that the property is directly or indirectly dangerous to health or safety; or 
      (4) The bureau, local law enforcement officers, enforcement officers of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, highway patrolmen, the board, or the State Board of Pharmacy have probable cause to believe that the property was used or is intended to be used in violation of this article. 
      (c) Controlled substances listed in Schedule I of Section 41-29-113 that are possessed, transferred, sold, or offered for sale in violation of this article are contraband and shall be seized and summarily forfeited to the state. Controlled substances listed in the said Schedule I, which are seized or come into the possession of the state, the owners of which are unknown, are contraband and shall be summarily forfeited to the state. 
      (d) Species of plants from which controlled substances in Schedules I and II of Sections 41-29-113 and 41-29-115 may be derived which have been planted or cultivated in violation of this article, or of which the owners or cultivators are unknown, or which are wild growths, may be seized and summarily forfeited to the state. 
      (e) The failure, upon demand by the bureau and/or local law enforcement officers, or their authorized agents, or highway patrolmen designated by the bureau, the board, or the State Board of Pharmacy, of the person in occupancy or in control of land or premises upon which the species of plants are growing or being stored, to produce an appropriate registration, or proof that he is the holder thereof, constitutes authority for the seizure and forfeiture of the plants. 


§ 41-29-176
TITLE 41 PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER 29 POISONS, DRUGS AND OTHER CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
41-29-176 Forfeiture of property other than controlled substance, raw material or paraphernalia.
 
41-29-176 Forfeiture of property other than controlled substance, raw material or paraphernalia. 
      (1) When any property other than a controlled substance, raw material or paraphernalia, the value of which does not exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), is seized under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law, the property may be forfeited by the administrative forfeiture procedures provided for in this section. 
      (2) The attorney for or any representative of the seizing law enforcement agency shall provide notice of intention to forfeit the seized property administratively, either by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal delivery, to all persons who are required to be notified pursuant to Section 41-29-177(2), Mississippi Code of 1972. 
      (3) In the event that notice of intention to forfeit the seized property administratively cannot be given as provided in subsection (2) of this section because of refusal, failure to claim, insufficient address or any other reason, the attorney for or representative of the seizing law enforcement agency shall provide notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the seizure occurred for once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks. 
      (4) Notice pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall include the following information: 
      (a) A description of the property; 
      (b) The approximate value of the property; 
      (c) The date and place of the seizure; 
      (d) The connection between the property and the violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law; 
      (e) The instructions for filing a request for judicial review; and 
      (f) A statement that the property will be forfeited to the seizing law enforcement agency if a request for judicial review is not timely filed. 
      (5) Any person claiming an interest in property which is the subject of a notice under this section may, within thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice or of the date of the first publication of the notice, file a petition to contest forfeiture signed by the claimant in the county court, if a county court exists, or otherwise in the circuit court of the county in which the seizure is made or the county in which the criminal prosecution is brought, in order to claim an interest in the property. Upon the filing of the petition and the payment of the filing fees, service of the petition shall be made on the attorney for or representative of the seizing law enforcement agency, and the proceedings shall thereafter be governed by the rules of civil procedure. 
      (6) If no petition to contest forfeiture is timely filed, the attorney for the seizing law enforcement agency shall prepare a written declaration of forfeiture of the subject property and the forfeited property shall be used, distributed or disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Section 41-29-181, Mississippi Code of 1972. 


41-29-177 Procedure for disposition of seized property; petition of forfeiture; inquiry into ownership; failure to discover owner. 
      (1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 41-29-176, Mississippi Code of 1972, when any property, other than a controlled substance, raw material or paraphernalia, is seized under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law, proceedings under this section shall be instituted within thirty (30) days from the date of seizure or the subject property shall be immediately returned to the party from whom seized. 
      (2) A petition for forfeiture shall be filed in the name of the State of Mississippi, the county or the municipality and may be filed in the county in which the seizure is made, the county in which the criminal prosecution is brought or the county in which the owner of the seized property is found. Forfeiture proceedings may be brought in the circuit court or the county court if a county court exists in the county and the value of the seized property is within the jurisdictional limits of the county court as set forth in Section 9-9-21, Mississippi Code of 1972. A copy of such petition shall be served upon the following persons by service of process in the same manner as in civil cases: 
      (a) The owner of the property, if address is known; 
      (b) Any secured party who has registered his lien or filed a financing statement as provided by law, if the identity of such secured party can be ascertained by the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency by making a good faith effort to ascertain the identity of such secured party as described in subsections (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) of this section; 
      (c) Any other bona fide lienholder or secured party or other person holding an interest in the property in the nature of a security interest of whom the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency has actual knowledge; 
      (d) Any holder of a mortgage, deed of trust, lien or encumbrance of record, if the property is real estate, by making a good faith inquiry as described in subsection (8) of this section; and 
      (e) Any person in possession of property subject to forfeiture at the time that it was seized. 
      (3) If the property is a motor vehicle susceptible of titling under the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Title Law and if there is any reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle has been titled, the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall make inquiry of the State Tax Commission as to what the records of the State Tax Commission show as to who is the record owner of the vehicle and who, if anyone, holds any lien or security interest which affects the vehicle. 
      (4) If the property is a motor vehicle and is not titled in the State of Mississippi, then the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall attempt to ascertain the name and address of the person in whose name the vehicle is licensed, and if the vehicle is licensed in a state which has in effect a certificate of title law, the bureau or the local law enforcement agency shall make inquiry of the appropriate agency of that state as to what the records of the agency show as to who is the record owner of the vehicle and who, if anyone, holds any lien, security interest or other instrument in the nature of a security device which affects the vehicle. 
      (5) If the property is of a nature that a financing statement is required by the laws of this state to be filed to perfect a security interest affecting the property and if there is any reasonable cause to believe that a financing statement covering the security interest has been filed under the laws of this state, the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall make inquiry of the appropriate office designated in Section 75-9-501, Mississippi Code of 1972, as to what the records show as to who is the record owner of the property and who, if anyone, has filed a financing statement affecting the property. 
      (6) If the property is an aircraft or part thereof and if there is any reasonable cause to believe that an instrument in the nature of a security device affects the property, then the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall make inquiry of the Mississippi Department of Transportation as to what the records of the Federal Aviation Administration show as to who is the record owner of the property and who, if anyone, holds an instrument in the nature of a security device which affects the property. 
      (7) In the case of all other personal property subject to forfeiture, if there is any reasonable cause to believe that an instrument in the nature of a security device affects the property, then the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall make a good faith inquiry to identify the holder of any such instrument. 
      (8) If the property is real estate, the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall make inquiry of the chancery clerk of the county wherein the property is located to determine who is the owner of record and who, if anyone, is a holder of a bona fide mortgage, deed of trust, lien or encumbrance. 
      (9) In the event the answer to an inquiry states that the record owner of the property is any person other than the person who was in possession of it when it was seized, or states that any person holds any lien, encumbrance, security interest, other interest in the nature of a security interest, mortgage or deed of trust which affects the property, the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall cause any record owner and also any lienholder, secured party, other person who holds an interest in the property in the nature of a security interest, or holder of an encumbrance, mortgage or deed of trust which affects the property to be named in the petition of forfeiture and to be served with process in the same manner as in civil cases. 
      (10) If the owner of the property cannot be found and served with a copy of the petition of forfeiture, or if no person was in possession of the property subject to forfeiture at the time that it was seized and the owner of the property is unknown, the Bureau of Narcotics or the local law enforcement agency shall file with the clerk of the court in which the proceeding is pending an affidavit to such effect, whereupon the clerk of the court shall publish notice of the hearing addressed to "the Unknown Owner of ________," filling in the blank space with a reasonably detailed description of the property subject to forfeiture. Service by publication shall contain the other requisites prescribed in Section 11-33-41, and shall be served as provided in Section 11-33-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, for publication of notice for attachments at law. 
      (11) No proceedings instituted pursuant to the provisions of this article shall proceed to hearing unless the judge conducting the hearing is satisfied that this section has been complied with. Any answer received from an inquiry required by subsections (3) through (8) of this section shall be introduced into evidence at the hearing. 
      
 
 




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