Motion for Return of Property
COMES NOW the [former] Defendant, by and through his undersigned counsel, and his son, also represented by undersigned counsel, respectfully move this Honorable Court to enter and order releasing and returning the property listed below to the defendant’s son, and, in support hereof, counsel states as follows:
1. On August 7, the client was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.
2. The State Attorney’s Office kindly permitted counsel to address the facts and issues that led to the arrest, prior to the filing of any formal charges. In doing so, counsel demonstrated that no crime had been committed by the client, and thus, no formal charges were ever filed.
3. Indeed, for that reason, on January 16, this case was nol prossed by the State Attorney’s Office.
4. This case was initiated by incorrect claims made by the client’s former wife at the time of an emotional, contested and bitter divorce proceeding. To further her efforts to disadvantage the client, she made erroneous claims that the client was in possession of certain firearms, and called the police to have them seize the firearms, from her home, located in Orange Park, Florida.
5. This [initial] seizure took place on May 30. This seizure and the ex-wife’s claims then led to the August 7 arrest of the client. An inventory of the firearms and ammunition that were seized by the Orange Park Police Department is listed in the June 18 Incident/Investigation Report.
6. The son of the client, and thus the client’s ex-wife was his stepmother. The client’s son previously resided with his stepmother, at his previous address, at different times in his life. He used the house to store his firearms in the garage, closet and attic.
7. As noted, on or about May 30, the Orange Park Police Department initially took possession of the firearms, but then returned them shortly thereafter, either to the client’s ex-wife or her son. However, the Orange Park Police Department later took possession of the guns a second time, on June 18 – three months after initially taking possession of them on May 30.
8. Those firearms were held by the Orange Park Police Department, for the potential prosecution of the client in the instant case. However, as noted above, this case was nol prossed, and a “No Information” was filed on January 16.
9. Thus, no prosecution was had, and hence these guns are no longer needed for any evidentiary, or other, purpose. Of course, as demonstrated to the State Attorney’s Office, the firearms in question were never actually possessed by the client. To the contrary, as noted herein, these firearms belong to his son.
10. Attached is an Affidavit from the client’s son (originally provided to the State Attorney’s Office), attesting to his lawful ownership of these firearms. His Affidavit recites the firearms he believes were seized.
11. As reflected in the client’s son’s Affidavit, many of the firearms are family heirlooms, possession of which he has obtained as the heir of his father, grandfather, and uncle, such that he is now the lawful owner, and others were firearms the client’s son himself had purchased or acquired. In either event, he is the lawful owner of the subject firearms.
12. Since there is no evidentiary, or other, need for the retention of these firearms, and since their lawful possession and ownership belongs with the client’s son, it respectfully requested that the Court authorize the release of those firearms to the client’s son. He has lived in Key West for the last few years, but will make arrangements to travel to Orange Park (or elsewhere) for the purposes of obtaining his firearms.
13. This Court has inherent authority to assist the true owner of property in the recovery of property that has been seized. See, Bolden v. State, 875 So. 2d 780 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004); Coon v. State, 585 So. 2d 1079 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991).
14. Prior to its filing, this motion, and the proposed order, have been presented to and reviewed by S. P. G., Esq., Attorney for the Town of Orange Park, and Mr. G. has permitted counsel to inform the Court the Town of Orange Park has no objection to the granting of this motion, without need for any further hearing, but initially deferred to the State Attorney’s Office as to the merits of this motion. However, as noted in paragraph 15, infra, the State Attorney’s Office has confirmed that, based on having declined prosecution of this case, they, in turn, defer to the Orange Park Police Department, represented by Mr. G. Thus, based on the position of both the State Attorney and Mr. G., there is no objection to the granting of this motion. Mr. G. has also review the proposed order (Exhibit D), and, based on the joint review by Mr. G. and the State Attorney’s Office, has no objection to its entry.
15. Prior to its filing, this motion, and the proposed order, have been presented to and reviewed by R. D., Esq., Assistant State Attorney, and Ms. D. has permitted counsel to inform the Court the State Attorney’s Office defers to the Orange Park Police Department. As the Court is aware, that Department is represented by Mr. G., who has kindly consented to this motion on behalf of his client.
WHEREFORE, the premises considered, it is respectfully requested this Court grant the instant motion to return the above stated property to the client’s son, or his legal representative.