2018 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 11 - General Provisions
Part 7 - Disposition of Forfeited Property
§ 39-11-710. Rights of interest holders and owners.
(a) Nothing in this part shall limit or restrict the right of an interest holder in real property that was of record, prior to the filing of the notice of lien lis pendens, to enforce its deed of trust, or to take any other action permitted under its deed of trust as long as prior notice is given to the court and the attorney general who filed the notice in accordance with this section.
(1) Pending any proceeding to forfeit real property, an interest holder who desires to take action under the mortgage or deed of trust shall give notice to the attorney general who filed the lis pendens of any action to be taken under the mortgage or deed of trust.
(2) If the state has stipulated to the interest holder's exemption from forfeiture of its interest and a judgment has been entered, then the interest holder may proceed to foreclose, in accordance with its mortgage or deed of trust, subject to the approval or conditions of the court.
(3) When no judgment has been entered exempting the interest holder's interest from forfeiture, the interest holder may not exercise its right to foreclose its deed of trust on the property, unless it gives the official who filed the lis pendens written notice at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of a foreclosure sale and indicates the time, date and place of sale and the balance owing on the debt. Upon receipt of the notice of foreclosure the official who filed the lis pendens may petition the court where the forfeiture action is pending to require that the foreclosure sale be subject to the approval or conditions of the court. Upon notice to the interest holder, the court may grant the request and upon those conditions as it deems just.
(c) The court may enjoin any foreclosure sale when probable cause exists that the interest holder is a co-conspirator or accessory to the conduct giving rise to forfeiture.
(d) Upon completion of a foreclosure sale of real property pending forfeiture, the interest holder or the interest holder's trustee shall give written notice of the intended distribution of the proceeds of the sale to the official who filed the lis pendens. The interest holder shall deposit with the clerk of the court where the forfeiture action is pending all proceeds from the foreclosure sale in excess of the debt and fees and expenses secured by its deed of trust. If, however, the court has ordered that the sale be conducted under conditions or subject to the approval of the court, the interest holder shall file with the court proof under oath that those conditions were met and any proceeds of the sale ordered to be deposited with the clerk. If no objection is filed by the official who filed the lien lis pendens, then the court shall approve the sale and distribution of proceeds.
(e) Pending any proceeding to forfeit any personal property, an owner or interest holder may petition the court exercising jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceeding for possession of the property, unless the property is needed as evidence. The court shall permit the owner or interest holder to obtain possession of the property upon the execution of a bond in favor of the state of Tennessee and for payment of the appraised value of the property at the time of the hearing, the sureties for the bond to be approved by the court. The court shall, upon approval of the bond, permit the owner or interest holder to obtain possession of the property unless it is needed for evidence.
(f) If the state has filed a stipulation that an interest holder has an interest that is exempt from forfeiture, the court may release personal property for sale, to be leased, rented or operated, when the property used for collateral is depreciating in value or when justice dictates, and upon the posting of a bond to ensure compliance with this subsection (f), unless the property is needed for evidence. Upon the court's release for public sale or lease, the interest holder shall dispose of the property but only by a commercially reasonable public sale or lease and, within ten (10) days of disposition, shall deposit with the clerk of the court where the forfeiture action is pending the amount received at disposition, less the amount of the interest holder's encumbrance and reasonable expenses incurred by the interest holder in connection with the sale or disposal, including the costs of the bond. For purposes of this subsection (f), "commercially reasonable" is a sale or disposal that would be commercially reasonable under § 47-9-610.
(g) If an indictment, information, or arrest warrant is filed against an owner claiming return of property that is subject to a forfeiture action filed under this part and the criminal action alleges the same conduct as the conduct giving rise to forfeiture in a civil forfeiture proceeding, the court in the civil proceeding shall stay civil discovery against the criminal defendant and against the state until the defendant's criminal action is completed.