Sec. 54-33g. Summons to owner on seizure of property. In rem action for adjudication as nuisance. Disposition of property.

(a) When any property believed to be possessed, controlled, designed or intended for use or which is or has been used or which may be used as a means of committing any criminal offense, except a violation of section 21a-267, 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279, has been seized as a result of a lawful arrest or lawful search, which the state claims to be a nuisance and desires to have destroyed or disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this section, the judge or court issuing the warrant or before whom the arrested person is to be arraigned shall, within ten days after such seizure, cause to be left with the owner of, and with any person claiming of record a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest in, the property so seized, or at his usual place of abode, if he is known, or, if unknown, at the place where the property was seized, a summons notifying the owner and any such other person claiming such interest and all others whom it may concern to appear before such judge or court, at a place and time named in such notice, which shall be not less than six nor more than twelve days after the service thereof.

(b) If the owner of such property or any person claiming any interest in the same appears, he shall be made a party defendant in such case. Any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney may appear and prosecute such complaint and shall have the burden of proving all material facts by clear and convincing evidence.

(c) If the judge or court finds the allegations made in such complaint to be true and that the property has been possessed, controlled or designed for use, or is or has been or is intended to be used, with intent to violate or in violation of any of the criminal laws of this state, except a violation of section 21a-267, 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279, he shall render judgment that such property is a nuisance and order the same to be destroyed or disposed of to a charitable or educational institution or to a governmental agency or institution provided, if any such property is subject to a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest, such property shall not be so destroyed or disposed of in violation of the rights of the holder of such interest. When any money or valuable prize has been seized upon such warrant and condemned under the provisions of this section, such money or valuable prize shall become the property of the state and when the property is money it shall be deposited in the General Fund, provided any such property, which at the time of such order is subject to a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall remain subject to such mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest. When any property or valuable prize has been declared a nuisance and condemned under this section, the court may also order that such property be sold by sale at public auction in which case the proceeds shall become the property of the state and shall be deposited in the General Fund; provided, any person who has a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall have the same right to the proceeds as he had in the property prior to sale. Final destruction or disposal of such property shall not be made until any criminal trial in which such property might be used as evidence has been completed.

(d) If the judge or court finds the allegations not to be true or that the property has not been kept with intent to violate or in violation of the criminal laws of this state or that it is the property of a person not a defendant, he shall order the property returned to the owner forthwith and the party in possession of such property pending such determination shall be responsible and personally liable for such property from the time of seizure and shall immediately comply with such order.

(e) Failure of the state to proceed against such property in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not prevent the use of such property as evidence in any criminal trial.

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