Under HSC 481.152 an officer can seize and forfeit controlled substance plants without a court order. It also says a court may order disposition of the plant under HSC 481.159, which then says the court can order law enforcement to retain the property for official purposes.
Anyone have experience or suggestions for this when there is no pending case (owner of plants unknown). Law enforcement would like to use the plants for dog training and investigations. Is there a Motion used,and which District court has jurisdiction (this section doesn't specify). We lie in multiple counties. There are no specific procedures spelled out, as there are for other forfeitures. It would seem the county where the plants were found, but since the code doesn't specify that (like it does in other places)would a district court in another county be able to order it. Are these orders as simple as just getting a judge to agree to it, or like other forfeitures, where a new case is filed, notice, hearing, etc.?
Any guidance appreciated!
A simple motion and order signed by a district judge is all that is required. I would use the district judge in the county where the plants were found. Go to your prosecutors office (with a copy of your written departmental policy regarding the use of narcotics in training) and ask them to prepare the request. If you have never done this before, it is an area where any department must be extremely careful in the handling of these items.
In Williamson County we include as a part of the order that the drugs will be destroyed after a specified time period without further order of the court. If you will e-mail me, I can send you a sample motion and order.
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