CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
18-5624. REAL PROPERTY — RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES. (1) Real property subject to forfeiture under the provisions of this chapter may be seized by the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney upon determining that a parcel of property is subject to forfeiture, by filing a notice of seizure with the recorder of the county in which the property or any part thereof is situated. The notice must contain a legal description of the property sought to be forfeited; provided however, that in the event the property sought to be forfeited is part of a greater parcel, the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney may, for the purposes of this notice, use the legal description of the greater parcel. The attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney shall also send by certified mail a copy of the notice of seizure to any persons holding a recorded interest or of whose interest the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney has actual knowledge. The attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney shall post a similar copy of the notice conspicuously upon the property and publish a copy thereof once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks immediately following the seizure in a newspaper published in the county. The co-owner or party in lawful possession of the property sought to be forfeited may retain possession and use thereof and may collect and keep income from the property while the forfeiture proceedings are pending.
(2) In the event of a seizure pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, a request for forfeiture shall be filed with the trial court within the time limit imposed by section 18-5620, Idaho Code. The request shall be served in the same manner as complaints subject to Idaho rules of civil procedure on all persons having an interest in the real property sought to be forfeited.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, upon being satisfied that the interest of a co-owner or claimant should not be subject to forfeiture because they neither knew nor should have known that the real property was being used or had been used for the purposes alleged, or that due to preexisting security interests in such property there is no equity that may be forfeited, the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney may release the property to the co-owner, holder of the security interest or other claimant.
(4) Within twenty (20) days of the mailing of the notice, the co-owner or party in interest may file a verified answer and claim to the property described in the notice.
(5) If a verified answer is filed within twenty (20) days after mailing of the notice, the forfeiture proceeding against all co-owners and parties in interest who have filed verified answers shall be set for hearing before the court without a jury on a day not less than sixty (60) days after the mailing of the notice; and the proceeding shall have priority over other civil cases.
(a) A co-owner or claimant of any right, title or interest in the real property sought to be forfeited may prove that his right, title or interest, whether under a lien, mortgage, deed of trust or otherwise, was created without any knowledge or reason to believe that the real property was being used or had been used for the purposes alleged;
(b) Any co-owner who has a verified answer on file may show by competent evidence that his interest in the property sought to be forfeited is not subject to forfeiture because he could not have known in the exercise of reasonable diligence that the real property was being used or had been used in any manner in violation of the provisions of section 18-5612, Idaho Code.
(6) In the event of such proof, the court shall order the release of the interest of the co-owner, purchaser, lienholder, mortgagee or beneficiary.
(a) If the amount due to such person is less than the value of the real property, the real property may be sold in a commercially reasonable manner by the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney. The proceeds from such sale shall be distributed as follows in the order indicated:
(i) To the innocent co-owner, purchaser, mortgagee or beneficiary of the real property, if any, up to the value of his interest in the real property;
(ii) The balance, if any, in the following order:
1. To the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney for all expenditures made or incurred in connection with the sale, including expenditure for any necessary repairs or maintenance of the real property, and for all expenditures made or incurred in connection with the forfeiture proceedings including, but not limited to, expenditures for witnesses’ fees, reporters’ fees, transcripts, printing, travel, investigation, title company fees and insurance premiums.
2. The remainder, if any, to the crime victims compensation account as established in section 72-1009, Idaho Code.
(b) In any case, the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting attorney may, within thirty (30) days after the order of forfeiture, pay the balance due to the innocent co-owner, purchaser, lienholder, mortgagee or beneficiary and thereby purchase the real property for use in the enforcement of this chapter.
[18-5624, added 2013, ch. 249, sec. 7, p. 605; am. 2014, ch. 97, sec. 3, p. 267.]