2014 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LXII - CRIMINAL CODE
Chapter 633 - INTERFERENCE WITH FREEDOM
Section 633:8 - Forfeiture of Items Used in Connection With Trafficking in Persons.

NH Rev Stat § 633:8 (2014) What's This?

    633:8 Forfeiture of Items Used in Connection With Trafficking in Persons. –
    I. All offenses under this section shall qualify as offenses for forfeiture and thereby upon petition of the attorney general, shall be subject to forfeiture to the state and said property interest shall be vested in the state:
       (a) All materials, products, and equipment of any kind used in violation of this section.
       (b) Any property interest in any conveyance used in furtherance of an act which violates this section.
       (c) Any moneys, coin, currency, negotiable instruments, securities, or other investments knowingly used or intended for use in violation of this section.
       (d) Any books, records, ledgers, and research material, including formulae, microfilm, tapes, and any other data which are used or intended for use in felonious violation of this section.
       (e) Any real property, including any right, title, leasehold interest, and other interest in the whole of any lot or tract of land and any appurtenances or improvements, which real property is knowingly used or intended for use, in any manner or part, in felonious violation of this section.
    II. The state shall have a lien on any property subject to forfeiture under this section upon seizure thereof. Upon forfeiture, the state's title to the property relates back to the date of seizure.
    III. (a) Property may be seized for forfeiture by any law enforcement agency designated by the department of justice, as follows:
          (1) Upon process issued by any justice, associate justice, or special justice of the district or superior court. The court may issue a seizure warrant on an affidavit under oath demonstrating that probable cause exists for its forfeiture or that the property has been the subject of a previous final judgment of forfeiture in the courts of any state or of the United States. The application for process and the issuance, execution, and return of process shall be subject to applicable state law. The court may order that the property be seized and secured on such terms and conditions as are reasonable in the discretion of the court. Such order may include an order to a financial institution or to any fiduciary or bailee to require the entity to impound any property in its possession or control and not to release it except upon further order of the court. The order may be made on or in connection with a search warrant;
          (2) Physically, without process on probable cause to believe that the property is subject to forfeiture under this section; or
          (3) Constructively, without process on probable cause to believe that the property is subject to forfeiture under this section, by recording a notice of pending forfeiture in the registry of deeds in the county where the real property is located or at the town clerk's office where the personal property is located stating that the state intends to seek forfeiture of the identified property pursuant to this section.
       (b) A seizure for forfeiture without process under subparagraph (a)(2) or (a)(3) shall be reasonable if made under circumstances in which a warrantless seizure or arrest would be valid in accordance with state law.
    IV. Upon seizure of any items or property interests the property shall not be subject to alienation, sequestration, or attachment but is deemed to be in the custody of the department of justice subject only to the order of the court.
    V. Upon the seizure of any personal property, the person making or directing such seizure shall inventory the items or property interests and issue a copy of the resulting report to any person or persons having a recorded interest, or claiming an equitable interest in the item within 7 days of the seizure.
    VI. Upon seizure of any real property, the person making or directing such seizure shall notify any person having a recorded interest or claiming an equitable interest in the property within 7 days of the seizure.
    VII. The seizing agency shall cause an appraisal to be made of the property as soon as possible and shall promptly send to the department of justice a written request for forfeiture. This request shall include a statement of all facts and circumstances supporting forfeiture of the property, including the names of all witnesses then known, and the appraised value of the property.
    VIII. The department of justice shall examine the facts and applicable law of the cases referred pursuant to paragraph VII, and if it is probable that the property is subject to forfeiture, shall cause the initiation of administrative or judicial proceedings against the property. If upon inquiry and examination, the department of justice determines that such proceedings probably cannot be sustained or that the ends of justice do not require the institution of such proceedings, the department shall make a written report of such findings and send a copy to the seizing agency, and, if appropriate, shall also authorize and direct the release of the property.
    IX. The department of justice shall, within 60 days of the seizure, file a petition in the superior court having jurisdiction under this section. If no such petition is filed within 60 days, the items or property interest seized shall be released or returned to the owners.
    X. Pending forfeiture and final disposition, the law enforcement agency making the seizure shall:
       (a) Place the property under seal;
       (b) Remove the property to a storage area for safekeeping;
       (c) Remove the property to a place designated by the court;
       (d) Request another agency to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location within the state, or in the case of moneys, file a motion for transfer of evidence under RSA 595-A:6. Upon the court's granting of the motion, the moneys shall be immediately forwarded to an interest-bearing seized asset escrow account to be administered by the attorney general.
    XI. The court may order forfeiture of all items or property interests under this section, except no item or property interest shall be subject to forfeiture unless the owner or owners thereof were consenting parties to a felonious violation of this section and had knowledge thereof.
    XII. The department of justice may petition the superior court in the name of the state in the nature of a proceeding in rem to order forfeiture of items or property interests subject to forfeiture under the provisions of this section. Such petition shall be filed in the court having jurisdiction over any related criminal proceedings which could be brought under this section. Such proceeding shall be deemed a civil suit in equity in which the state shall have the burden of proving all material facts by a preponderance of the evidence and in which the owners or other persons claiming an exception pursuant to paragraph XI shall have the burden of proving such exception.
    XIII. The court shall issue summonses to all persons who have a recorded interest or claim an equitable interest in said items or property interests seized under this section and shall schedule a hearing on the petition to be held within 90 days of the service date specified by the court on the summons on said petition.
    XIV. At the request of any party to the forfeiture proceeding, the court shall grant a continuance until the final resolution of any criminal proceedings which were brought against a party under this section and which arose from the transaction which gave rise to the forfeiture proceeding. No party's interest in property shall be forfeited unless a party has been found guilty of the underlying felonious charge.
    XV. At the hearing, the court shall hear evidence and make findings of fact and rulings of law as to whether the property is subject to forfeiture under this section. Except in the case of proceeds, upon a finding that the property is subject to forfeiture the court shall determine whether the forfeiture of the property is not excessive in relation to the underlying criminal offense. In making this determination the court shall consider whether in addition to any other pertinent considerations:
       (a) There is a substantial connection between the property to be forfeited and the underlying offense;
       (b) Criminal activities conducted by or through the use of the property were extensive; and
       (c) The value of the property to be forfeited greatly outweighs the cost of prosecution and the harm caused by the criminal conduct.
    XVI. The court shall, thereupon, make a final order, from which all parties shall have a right of appeal. Final orders for forfeiture of property under this section shall be implemented by the department of justice and shall provide for disposition of the items or property interests by the state in any manner not prohibited by law, including payment of restitution to a victim of trafficking or sale at public auction. The department of justice shall pay the reasonable expenses of the forfeiture proceeding, seizure, storage, maintenance of custody, advertising, court costs, and notice of sale from any money forfeited and from the proceeds of any sale or public auction of forfeited items. All outstanding recorded liens on said items or property interests seized shall be paid in full upon conclusion of the court proceedings from the proceeds of any sale or public auction of forfeited items.
    XVII. Overseas assets of persons convicted of trafficking in persons shall also be subject to forfeiture to the extent they can be retrieved by the government.
    XVIII. After payment of costs outlined in paragraph XVI, any forfeited money and the proceeds of any sale or public auction of forfeited items shall first be used to satisfy any order of restitution or compensation imposed by the court. Any remaining funds shall go to the victims' assistance fund as defined in RSA 21-M:8-i.

Source. 2009, 211:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010. 2014, 204:44, eff. July 11, 2014.


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