When a person is arrested, it is not uncommon for them to have personal property seized by the police. This property may be used as evidence, or may be seized for the purpose of asset forfeiture. Asset forfeiture is a process whereby police seize items that are considered instrumentalities of a crime. This could be money earned from an unlawful source, money intended for an unlawful use, or other property that was used in, or earned from, the commission of a crime. When police seize items for asset forfeiture, they are intending on initiating a process to permanently deprive you of your property. No matter what the purpose of the seizure is, if you are cleared of the charges, you generally have a right to the return of your property.
Michael E. Cindrich has been successful in recovering several hundred pounds of cannabis, hundreds of thousands of dollars, cultivation equipment, vehicles, and other items that were wrongfully seized by law enforcement. In some cases our clients were arrested, property was seized, but charges were never filed. In other cases charges were filed, but were later dismissed by the prosecuting agency. In a handful of cases Michael Cindrich was forced to proceed to jury trials where he won “Not Guilty” verdicts which allowed our clients to seek the return of their property.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement to oppose our request to return wrongfully confiscated property, especially cannabis. When this happens, our office is forced to draft, file, and argue motions for return of property. The best authority for the return of cannabis in California is The City of Garden Grove vs. The Superior Court of Orange County, which confirms that California agencies have a duty to return cannabis that was lawfully possessed.
If you have had property seized by law enforcement, and would like more information on how to fight for its return, contact us today. If you would like more information on our cannabis-related services, click here.
In the picture above, Michael Cindrich is seen with cannabis recovered from the Los Angeles Police Department after a “Not Guilty” verdict at trial and a successful motion to return property. In this case, members of the LAPD refused to return the cannabis, even after a court issued an order for its return. Michael Cindrich was already successful in winning the return of $37,210 cash that was seized, but the LAPD officers involved in the case claimed that they would not return the cannabis because to do so would violate federal law. Michael Cindrich requested an “Order to Show Cause” hearing, wherein the officers could be found to be in willful violation of a court order, and could ultimately be sanctioned by the court. On the eve of the hearing, our office received a call that LAPD was willing to comply. A detailed account of the trial which lead to a ten-minute “Not Guilty” verdict, and the return of our client’s property, can be read here.
The photo above was taken after one of our largest returns to date. After a “Not Guilty” verdict at trial, Michael Cindrich successfully argued for the return of over 55 pounds of cannabis, over $150,000 in cash, bullet proof vests, firearms, vehicles, and other personal items. A detailed review of the case and trial is included in the San Diego Americans for Safe Access article here. An account of the forfeiture and return of property process can be found in The Weed Blog write-up here.
Above: Return of Property motion granted for mobile dispensary. Flower, concentrate, edibles, cash, and other items released by law enforcement.
Above: 12 pounds released by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department after a successful motion to return property.
Above: Return of Property motion granted for 13.5 pounds of trim, 4 digital scales, a container of MJ peanut butter, a container of MJ butter, and 2 cookies.
Above: Return of Property motion granted for 5 pounds of flower and 1 pound of concentrate.
Above: Motion to return approximately 1 pound of flower, 3 ounces of concentrate, and $7,115 granted over the prosecution’s objection. They argued that it would be a violation of federal law for the product to be returned.
The picture above shows a small sample of the equipment recovered after a “Not Guilty” verdict and successful motion for return of property in El Cajon, CA. More information on this case can be found in the San Diego Americans for Safe Access article here.
The above is footage is from the recovery of over 40 pounds of cannabis that was returned to our client after Michael Cindrich was successful in having the case dismissed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. The original story, which mistakenly indicated that only 20 pounds was recovered, can be found here.