Seizure affidavit states deputy found an abandoned vehicle blocking the roadway and ultimately found substantial amount of cocaine in the abandoned vehicle. Registered owner has an out of state address. Eventually registered owner is served by publication, an attorney is appointed to represent registered owner, and a hearing date is set.
Now, while preparing for the hearing, the deputy tells me the affidavit is not the "whole story." It seems a drug dealer gave the vehicle to a mule to drive to another city. The mule notified the deputy who advised the mule to "abandon" the vehicle for the deputy to "accidently" find. Additionally, the deputy thinks the registered owner is just a made up name and not a real person.
Q: Would you go forward with the hearing based only on the affidavit or would you tell the appointed attorney and the court "the rest of the story."?
Tell the truth or lie. That's the choice, right?
Exactly. Law enforcement of course does not want to reveal their operation at this time because it is not completed. I was really just wondering if there was any other option then dismissing. I guess you would say NO.
If the registered owner was served by publication, and you believe him to be fictional, why was an attorney appointed? Doesn't there have to be an actual client before an answer can be filed?
Tell the judge and the appointed attorney the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I do not believe that in this case the truth will prevent the forfeiture. You still have the possessor of a vehicle (the mule) who knowingly used the vehicle to transport narcotics. He consented to the search of the vehicle. You have notified the owner fo the vehicle by publication and that owner is represented by an attorney. If the attorney can identify and locate the true owner (assuming the name on the registration is fictitious) then he is obliged to do so.
The only thing I would be truly concerned about is whether the officer's statements in the sworn seizure affidavit are false, rather than incomplete, thereby subjecting the officer to possible perjury.
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