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Name: People v. $10,153.38
Case #: B205875
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/11/2009

Forfeiture proceedings pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11488.4, subdivision (i)(5) must be tried in conjunction with the underlying criminal offense. Forfeiture of property connected with unlawful drug transactions is governed by Health and Safety Code sections 11470 through 11489, with section 11488.4 , subdivision (i)(3) stating that if defendant is found guilty of the underlying related criminal action, forfeiture of property connected with the offense must be tried before the same jury. In 2003, Cardan was arrested for drug offenses and $10,153.38 was seized from his hotel room. He immediately filed a claim opposing forfeiture. Later that year, Cardan was convicted of the offenses and sentenced to state prison. After the conviction was affirmed, the People filed requests for admissions, asking Cardan to admit he had abandoned claim to the money. Cardan responded with a Petition For Return of Property. The trial court granted the People’s motion deeming the requests as admitted and Cardan appealed. The appellate court reversed. Noting that forfeiture statutes are disfavored and, thus, must be strictly construed, absent waiver, the People are required to try the forfeiture in conjunction with the underlying criminal case. Not having done so here, they are precluded from entry of order of forfeiture.