2015 Georgia Code
§ 9-16-14 - Restraining order, injunction, and other measures to seize, maintain, or preserve property; hearing

GA Code § 9-16-14 (2015) What's This?

In conjunction with any civil forfeiture proceeding or criminal proceeding involving forfeiture:

(1) The court, upon application of the state attorney, may enter any restraining order or injunction; require the execution of satisfactory performance bonds; appoint receivers, conservators, appraisers, accountants, or trustees; or take any action to seize, secure, maintain, or preserve the availability of property subject to forfeiture, including issuing a warrant for its seizure and writ of attachment, whether before or after the filing of a complaint for forfeiture;

(2) A temporary restraining order under this Code section may be entered on application of the state attorney, without notice or an opportunity for a hearing, if the state attorney demonstrates that:

(A) There is probable cause to believe that the property subject to the order, in the event of final judgment or conviction, would be subject to forfeiture; and

(B) Provision of notice would jeopardize the availability of the property for forfeiture;

(3) Notice of the entry of a restraining order and an opportunity for a hearing shall be afforded to persons known to have an interest in the property. The hearing shall be held at the earliest possible date consistent with subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-65 and shall be limited to the issues of whether:

(A) There is a probability that the state will prevail on the issue of forfeiture and that failure to enter the order will result in the property's being destroyed, conveyed, encumbered, removed from the jurisdiction of the court, concealed, or otherwise made unavailable for forfeiture; and

(B) The need to preserve the availability of the property through the entry of the requested order outweighs the hardship on any owner or interest holder against whom the order is to be entered;

(4) If property is seized for forfeiture or a forfeiture lien is filed without a previous judicial determination of probable cause or order of forfeiture or a hearing under paragraph (2) of this Code section, the court, on an application filed by an owner of or interest holder in the property within 30 days after notice of its seizure or forfeiture lien or actual knowledge of such seizure or lien, whichever is earlier, and complying with the requirements for an answer to an in rem complaint, and after five days' notice to the district attorney of the judicial circuit where the property was seized or, in the case of a forfeiture lien, to the state attorney filing such lien, may issue an order to show cause to the state attorney and seizing law enforcement agency for a hearing on the sole issue of whether probable cause for forfeiture of the property then exists. The hearing shall be held within 30 days unless continued for good cause on motion of either party. If the court finds that there is no probable cause for forfeiture of the property, the property shall be released. In determining probable cause, the court shall apply the rules of evidence; provided, however, that hearsay shall be admissible; and

(5) The court may order property that has been seized for forfeiture to be sold to satisfy a specified interest of any interest holder, on motion of any party, and after notice and a hearing, on the conditions that:

(A) The interest holder has filed a proper claim and has an interest that the state attorney has stipulated is exempt from forfeiture, provided that if the interest holder is a financial institution, it is also authorized to do business in this state and is under the jurisdiction of a governmental agency which regulates financial institutions, securities, insurance, or real estate;

(B) The interest holder shall dispose of the property by commercially reasonable public sale and apply the income first to its interest and then to its reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the sale or disposal; and

(C) The balance of the income, if any, shall be returned to the actual or constructive custody of the court, in an interest bearing account, subject to further proceedings under this chapter.

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