language to be deleted (2) new language
relating to public safety; making numerous changes to the forfeiture law; expanding the reporting requirements related to forfeiture; requiring model policies on forfeiture; requiring officers to give forfeiture receipts upon seizure of property; implementing timelines for forfeiture notice and hearings; placing a cap on the value of property that may be forfeited administratively; authorizing petitions for remission and mitigation of seized property; requiring certification by prosecutor before property may be forfeited administratively; prohibiting sale of forfeited property to law enforcement officers, employees, and family members;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections 97A.221, by adding a subdivision; 97A.223, by adding a subdivision; 97A.225, by adding a subdivision; 169A.63, by adding a subdivision; 491A.01, subdivision 3; 609.531, subdivisions 4, 5, 5a, by adding subdivisions; 609.5311, subdivision 3; 609.5313; 609.5314, subdivisions 2, 3; 609.5315, subdivisions 1, 2, 6; 609.762, by adding a subdivision; 609.905, by adding a subdivision; Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 84.7741, by adding a subdivision.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
(a) Except as provided in subdivisions 4 and 5, the conciliation court has jurisdiction to hear, conciliate, try, and determine civil claims if the amount of money or property that is the subject matter of the claim does not exceed $6,000 or, on and after July 1, 1994, $7,500, or $4,000 if the claim involves a consumer credit transaction. "Consumer credit transaction" means a sale of personal property, or a loan arranged to facilitate the purchase of personal property, in which:
(1) credit is granted by a seller or a lender who regularly engages as a seller or lender in credit transactions of the same kind;
(2) the buyer is a natural person;
(3) the claimant is the seller or lender in the transaction; and
(4) the personal property is purchased primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose and not for a commercial, agricultural, or business purpose.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision and subdivisions 5 to 10, the territorial jurisdiction of conciliation court is coextensive with the county in which the court is established. The summons in a conciliation court action under subdivisions 6 to 10 may be served anywhere in the state, and the summons in a conciliation court action under subdivision 7, paragraph (b), may be served outside the state in the manner provided by law. The court administrator shall serve the summons in a conciliation court action by first class mail, except that if the amount of money or property that is the subject of the claim exceeds $2,500, the summons must be served by the plaintiff by certified mail, and service on nonresident defendants must be made in accordance with applicable law or rule. Subpoenas to secure the attendance of nonparty witnesses and the production of documents at trial may be served anywhere within the state in the manner provided by law.
When a court administrator is required to summon the defendant by certified mail under this paragraph, the summons may be made by personal service in the manner provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure for personal service of a summons of the district court as an alternative to service by certified mail.
Property subject to forfeiture under sections 609.531 to 609.5318 may be seized by the appropriate agency upon process issued by any court having jurisdiction over the property. Property may be seized without process if:
(1) the seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or a lawful search;
(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 under this chapter; or
(3) the appropriate agency has probable cause to believe that the delay occasioned by the necessity to obtain process would result in the removal or destruction of the property and that:
(i) the property was used or is intended to be used in commission of a felony; or
(ii) the property is dangerous to health or safety.
If property is seized without process under item (i), the county attorney must institute a forfeiture action under section 609.5313 as soon as is reasonably possible.
All right, title, and interest in property subject to forfeiture under sections 609.531 to 609.5318 vests in the appropriate agency upon commission of the act or omission giving rise to the forfeiture. Any property seized under sections 609.531 to 609.5318 is not subject to replevin, but is deemed to be in the custody of the appropriate agency subject to the orders and decrees of the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings. When property is so seized, the appropriate agency may:
(1) place the property under seal;
(2) remove the property to a place designated by it;
(3) in the case of controlled substances, require the state Board of Pharmacy to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location for disposition in accordance with law; and
(4) take other steps reasonable and necessary to secure the property and prevent waste.
(a) If the owner of property that has been seized under sections 609.531 to 609.5318 seeks possession of the property before the forfeiture action is determined, the owner may, subject to the approval of the appropriate agency, give security or post bond payable to the appropriate agency in an amount equal to the retail value of the seized property. On posting the security or bond, the seized property must be returned to the owner and the forfeiture action shall proceed against the security as if it were the seized property. This subdivision does not apply to contraband property.
(b) If the owner of a motor vehicle that has been seized under this section seeks possession of the vehicle before the forfeiture action is determined, the owner may surrender the vehicle's certificate of title in exchange for the vehicle. The motor vehicle must be returned to the owner within 24 hours if the owner surrenders the motor vehicle's certificate of title to the appropriate agency, pending resolution of the forfeiture action. If the certificate is surrendered, the owner may not be ordered to post security or bond as a condition of release of the vehicle. When a certificate of title is surrendered under this provision, the agency shall notify the Department of Public Safety and any secured party noted on the certificate. The agency shall also notify the department and the secured party when it returns a surrendered title to the motor vehicle owner.
(a) A conveyance device is subject to forfeiture under this section only if the retail value of the controlled substance is $25 or more and the conveyance device is associated with a felony-level controlled substance crime.
(b) Real property is subject to forfeiture under this section only if the retail value of the controlled substance or contraband is $1,000 or more.
(c) Property used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as a common carrier is subject to forfeiture under this section only if the owner of the property is a consenting party to, or is privy to, the use or intended use of the property as described in subdivision 2.
(d) Property is subject to forfeiture under this section only if its owner was privy to the use or intended use described in subdivision 2, or the unlawful use or intended use of the property otherwise occurred with the owner's knowledge or consent.
(e) Forfeiture under this section of a conveyance device or real property encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party unless the secured party had knowledge of or consented to the act or omission upon which the forfeiture is based. A person claiming a security interest bears the burden of establishing that interest by clear and convincing evidence.
(f) Forfeiture under this section of real property is subject to the interests of a good faith purchaser for value unless the purchaser had knowledge of or consented to the act or omission upon which the forfeiture is based.
(g) Notwithstanding paragraphs (d), (e), and (f), property is not subject to forfeiture based solely on the owner's or secured party's knowledge of the unlawful use or intended use of the property if: (1) the owner or secured party took reasonable steps to terminate use of the property by the offender; or (2) the property is real property owned by the parent of the offender, unless the parent actively participated in, or knowingly acquiesced to, a violation of chapter 152, or the real property constitutes proceeds derived from or traceable to a use described in subdivision 2.
(h) The Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit shall not seize a conveyance device or real property, for the purposes of forfeiture under paragraphs (a) to (g).
The forfeiture of property under sections 609.5311 and 609.5312 is governed by this section. A separate complaint must be filed against the property stating the act, omission, or occurrence giving rise to the forfeiture and the date and place of the act or occurrence. the county attorney shall notify the owner or possessor of the property of the action, if known or readily ascertainable. The action must be captioned in the name of the county attorney or the county attorney's designee as plaintiff and the property as defendant.
(a) Forfeiture of property described in subdivision 1 is governed by this subdivision. when seizure occurs, or within a reasonable time after that, all persons known to have an ownership, possessory, or security interest in seized property must be notified of the seizure and the intent to forfeit the property. In the case of a motor vehicle required to be registered under chapter 168, notice mailed by certified mail to the address shown in Department of Public Safety records is deemed sufficient notice to the registered owner. The notification to a person known to have a security interest in seized property required under this paragraph applies only to motor vehicles required to be registered under chapter 168 and only if the security interest is listed on the vehicle's title.
(b) Notice may otherwise be given in the manner provided by law for service of a summons in a civil action. The notice must be in writing and contain:
(1) a description of the property seized;
(2) the date of seizure;
(3) notice of the right to obtain judicial review of the forfeiture and of the procedure for obtaining that judicial review, printed in English, Hmong, and Spanish. Substantially the following language must appear conspicuously: "IF YOU DO NOT DEMAND JUDICIAL REVIEW EXACTLY AS PRESCRIBED IN MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION 609.5314, SUBDIVISION 3, YOU LOSE THE RIGHT TO A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF THIS FORFEITURE AND YOU LOSE ANY RIGHT YOU MAY HAVE TO THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PROPERTY. YOU MAY NOT HAVE TO PAY THE FILING FEE FOR THE DEMAND IF DETERMINED YOU ARE UNABLE TO AFFORD THE FEE. IF THE PROPERTY IS WORTH $7,500 OR LESS, YOU MAY FILE YOUR CLAIM IN CONCILIATION COURT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THE CONCILIATION COURT FILING FEE IF THE PROPERTY IS WORTH LESS THAN $500."
(a) Within 60 days following service of a notice of seizure and forfeiture under this section, a claimant may file a demand for a judicial determination of the forfeiture. The demand must be in the form of a civil complaint and must be filed with the court administrator in the county in which the seizure occurred, together with proof of service of a copy of the complaint on the county attorney for that county, and the standard filing fee for civil actions unless the petitioner has the right to sue in forma pauperis under section 563.01. If the value of the seized property is $7,500 or less, the claimant may file an action in conciliation court for recovery of the seized property. If the value of the seized property is less than $500, the claimant does not have to pay the conciliation court filing fee. No responsive pleading is required of the county attorney and no court fees may be charged for the county attorney's appearance in the matter. The proceedings are governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure.
(b) The complaint must be captioned in the name of the claimant as plaintiff and the seized property as defendant, and must state with specificity the grounds on which the claimant alleges the property was improperly seized and the plaintiff's interest in the property seized. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, an action for the return of property seized under this section may not be maintained by or on behalf of any person who has been served with a notice of seizure and forfeiture unless the person has complied with this subdivision.
(c) If the claimant makes a timely demand for judicial determination under this subdivision, the appropriate agency must conduct the forfeiture under section 609.531, subdivision 6a. The limitations and defenses set forth in section 609.5311, subdivision 3, apply to the judicial determination.
(d) If a demand for judicial determination of an administrative forfeiture is filed under this subdivision and the court orders the return of the seized property, the court shall order that filing fees be reimbursed to the person who filed the demand. In addition, the court may order sanctions under section 549.211. If the court orders payment of these costs, they must be paid from forfeited money or proceeds from the sale of forfeited property from the appropriate law enforcement and prosecuting agencies in the same proportion as they would be distributed under section 609.5315, subdivision 5.
(a) Subject to paragraph (b), if the court finds under section 609.5313, 609.5314, or 609.5318 that the property is subject to forfeiture, it shall order the appropriate agency to do one of the following:
(1) unless a different disposition is provided under clause (3) or (4), either destroy firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories that the agency decides not to use for law enforcement purposes under clause (8), or sell them to federally licensed firearms dealers, as defined in section 624.7161, subdivision 1, and distribute the proceeds under subdivision 5 or 5b;
(2) sell property that is not required to be destroyed by law and is not harmful to the public and distribute the proceeds under subdivision 5 or 5b;
(3) sell antique firearms, as defined in section 624.712, subdivision 3, to the public and distribute the proceeds under subdivision 5 or 5b;
(4) destroy or use for law enforcement purposes semiautomatic military-style assault weapons, as defined in section 624.712, subdivision 7;
(5) take custody of the property and remove it for disposition in accordance with law;
(6) forward the property to the federal drug enforcement administration;
(7) disburse money as provided under subdivision 5 or 5b; or
(8) keep property other than money for official use by the agency and the prosecuting agency.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the Hennepin or Ramsey County sheriff may not sell firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories if the policy is disapproved by the applicable county board.
If property is forfeited administratively under section 609.5314 or 609.5318 and no demand for judicial determination is made, the appropriate agency may dispose of the property in any of the ways listed in subdivision 1.
the appropriate agency shall provide a written record of each forfeiture incident to the state auditor. The record shall include the amount forfeited, date, and a brief description of the circumstances involved. The record shall also list the number of firearms forfeited and the make, model, and serial number of each firearm forfeited.
Reports shall be made on a monthly basis in a manner prescribed by the state auditor. The state auditor shall report annually to the legislature on the nature and extent of forfeitures.
Presented to the governor May 18, 2010
Signed by the governor May 27, 2010, 10:56 a.m.