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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default How Do I Get My Property Back in Washington State

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Washington

    Good Day,

    I'm looking for a little advice related to a [warranted] search that was conducted at my home 2 weeks ago against my husband. I've never been in any form of legal trouble outside a speeding ticket, so I'm unsure what the procedures are in this instance.

    My husband has been growing medical marijuana at a location off our property. I was not involved in this at all. They served a search warrant on both his shop and our home, taking some of my personal [and work-specific] belongings. No charges have been filed against my husband and he has received a "Notice of Seizure and Intended Forfeiture" itemizing items found in his shop. None of said items were mine and my name was not listed on that notice.

    We do not want to retain a lawyer unless he is charged, but I need to get certain items back as soon as possible. How do I go about this? Is it possible?

    Thanks for your help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Re: How Do I Get My Property Back in Washington State

    A lot is going to depend on what kind of items you are talking about and the circumstances of their seizure. If the items can be classified as contraband, they will be forfeited even if no charges are filed against either you or your husband. If they have evidentiary value, they can be held until any possibility of further adjudication is gone.

    Presuming the items are not contraband (paraphernalia used for marijuana cultivation will likely be ruled to be contraband even if, otherwise, lawful to posses), you can contact the seizing agency and/or the prosecutor to see if they will release them. The medical marijuana laws in Washington are VERY poorly written and leave a lot up to legal interpretation. That promotes both law enforcement/prosecutors and marijuana advocates to try to "push the envelope" in the hopes of getting court decisions favorable to their position. Of course, if a Federal agency gets involved, they already have precedent that state law doesn't mean a hill of beans if charged under Federal statutes. Whatever the items are, you are probably not going to get them back anytime soon. You will have to convince the cops and prosecutor that the items are not paraphernalia used to manufacture, not illicitly bought with the proceeds, and have no evidentiary value. And, if the cops didn't already think that the items potentially fell into one of these categories, they wouldn't have seized them in the first place.
    Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: How Do I Get My Property Back in Washington State

    Thank you for your reply.

    The items in question are my cell phone (never used for drug related purposes as I was not involved in the activity), an iPad that was purchase by my employer (again, never used for drug related purposes) and a reimbursement check from my employer for travel expenses that my mom put on her credit card. I'm not worried about the check, I've already contacted my employer to have it reissued. Mostly, I'm concerned about the iPad.

    You are absolutely dead-on about the medical marijuana laws. My husband consulted with an attorney before venturing into this and was fully under the impression that what he was doing was legal. According to the police, that interpretation was wrong. Wherever the truth is, he's in quite a bit of trouble. He wasn't profiteering off of this. He has a serious medical condition... not just a back ache! When he had excess from his crop he would give it to a Co-op.

    Needless to say I'm pretty upset (with my husband). I am a law-abiding citizen and have never / will never intentionally do anything illegal. I asked him frequently if he was sure he was staying within the bounds of the law and he assured me every time that he was. I did not see this coming.

    While I don't know where the case is right now, there were no federal agents involved in the search. Given that I can easily prove the items were not purchased with proceeds and there is no evidence on them, what is my next step? Charges haven't been filed so would I go to the seizing agency or do I still need to go to the DA?

    Thanks again!

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