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500.00 in Lawful United States Currency v. State ex. rel Evansville-Vanderburgh County Multi-Agency Drug Task Force

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 17, 2014

$2,500.00 IN LAWFUL UNITED STATES CURRENCY, 2002 CHEVROLET AVALANCHE, and 1970 CHEVROLET EL CAMINO (Demarco D. Hawkins), Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA ex rel. EVANSVILLE-VANDERBURGH COUNTY MULTI-AGENCY DRUG TASK FORCE, Appellee-Plaintiff

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE VANDERBURGH CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable David D. Kiely, Judge. The Honorable Kelli E. Fink, Magistrate. Cause No. 82C01-1111-MI-580.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOHN P. BRINSON, Evansville, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, KYLE HUNTER, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

KIRSCH, Judge. FRIEDLANDER, J., and BAILEY, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

KIRSCH, Judge

Demarco D. Hawkins (" Hawkins" ) appeals the trial court's order granting forfeiture of a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche (" the Avalanche" ) and a 1970 Chevrolet El Camino (" the El Camino" ) (together, " the Vehicles" ) that were seized when he was arrested for suspicion of dealing in marijuana. He raises the following restated issue for our review: whether the evidence presented was sufficient to support the trial court's grant of forfeiture of the Vehicles.

We reverse.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 11, 2011, members of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Multi-Agency Drug Task Force (" the Drug Task Force" ) served a warrant on 816 East Mulberry Street in Evansville, Indiana, where Hawkins lived with his mother, Sheryl Briggs (" Briggs" ). During the search, the Drug Task Force found 482 grams of marijuana, four boxes of sandwich bags, a digital scale, a wooden grinder, three cell phones, freezer bags containing marijuana residue, miscellaneous documents containing Hawkins's name, three pistols, the Avalanche, and the El Camino. All of these items were seized pursuant to Hawkins's arrest for dealing in marijuana and possession of marijuana.

On November 2, 2011, the State filed a complaint seeking forfeiture of the Vehicles and $2,500.00 in cash that Briggs had used to bail Hawkins out of jail. The State alleged that the Vehicles were subject to forfeiture because they were personal property purchased with money that was traceable as a proceed of the violation of a criminal statute or because they were used or intended for use to transport or facilitate the transportation of marijuana for the purpose of committing, attempting to commit, or conspiring to commit dealing in marijuana.

In 2009, Hawkins had been an employee of The Car Concierge, a used car dealership in Evansville, Indiana. Through this employment, Hawkins had access to dealer license plates. The Car Concierge went out of business sometime in 2010. Hawkins testified that he would purchase ...


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