Substitute Senate Bill No. 1403

Public Act No. 01-104

AN ACT CONCERNING ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE OF STOLEN VEHICLES AND SEIZED CURRENCY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Subsection (b) of section 54-36a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) (1) Whenever property is seized in connection with a criminal arrest or seized pursuant to a search warrant without an arrest, the law enforcement agency seizing such property shall file, on forms provided for this purpose by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, an inventory of the property seized. The inventory, together with the uniform arrest report, in the case of an arrest, shall be filed with the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the criminal offense is alleged to have been committed; except, when the property is stolen property and, in the opinion of the law enforcement officer, does not exceed two hundred fifty dollars in value, or when an attempt was made to steal the property but the property at all times remained on the premises in a sealed container, the filing of an inventory shall not be required and such property may be returned to the owner. In the case of property seized in connection with a search warrant without an arrest, the inventory shall be attached to the warrant and shall be filed with the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the search warrant was issued. If any criminal proceeding is transferred to another court location, then the clerk with whom the inventory is filed shall transfer such inventory to the clerk of the court location to which such action is transferred.

(2) If the seized property is stolen property, within ten days of the seizure, the law enforcement agency seizing the property shall notify the owner of the property if known, or, if the owner of the property is unknown at the time of seizure, such agency shall within ten days of any subsequent ascertainment of the owner notify such owner, and, on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, advise the owner of [his] such owner's rights concerning the property and the location of the property. Such written notice shall include a request form for the return of the property. The owner may request the return of the property by filing such request form with such law enforcement agency, and upon receipt of such request, the law enforcement agency shall forward it to the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the criminal offense is alleged to have been committed. The clerk of the court shall notify the defendant or defendants of the request to return the property. The court shall order the return of the property within thirty days of the date of filing such return request by the owner, except that for good cause shown, the court may order retention of the property for a period to be determined by the court. Any secondary evidence of the identity, description or value of such property shall be admissible in evidence against such defendant in the trial of such case. The fact that the evidence is secondary in nature may be shown to affect the weight of such evidence, but not to affect its admissibility. If the stolen property is a motor vehicle, a photograph of the motor vehicle and a sworn affidavit attesting to the vehicle identification number of such motor vehicle shall be sufficient evidence of the identity of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this subdivision, "motor vehicle" means a passenger or commercial motor vehicle or a motorcycle, as defined in section 14-1, and includes construction equipment, agricultural tractors and farm implements.

[(3) If the seized property is currency, the law enforcement agency seizing the property may deposit the currency in a safe deposit box in a financial institution in this state. No funds may be removed from such safe deposit box unless ordered by the court. The financial institution at which the safe deposit box is located shall not be responsible for monitoring activity in the safe deposit box or insuring that the contents of the safe deposit box are removed in accordance with the requirements of this subdivision.]

(3) (A) If the seized property is currency and is stolen property, the law enforcement agency seizing the currency shall follow the procedures set forth in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(B) If the seized property is currency and is not stolen property, the law enforcement agency seizing the currency shall, within ten days of such seizure, notify the defendant or defendants, if such currency was seized in connection with a criminal arrest, or the person or persons having a possessory interest in the premises from which such currency was seized, if such currency was seized pursuant to a search warrant without an arrest, that such defendant or person has the right to a hearing before the Superior Court on the disposition of the currency. Such defendant or person may, not later than thirty days after receiving such notice, request a hearing before the Superior Court. The court may, after any such hearing, order that the law enforcement agency, after taking reasonable measures to preserve the evidentiary value of the currency, deposit the currency in a deposit account in the name of the law enforcement agency as custodian for evidentiary funds at a financial institution in this state or order, for good cause shown, that the currency be retained for a period to be determined by the court. If such defendant or person does not request a hearing, the law enforcement agency may, after taking reasonable measures to preserve the evidentiary value of the currency, deposit the currency in a deposit account in the name of the law enforcement agency as custodian for evidentiary funds at a financial institution in this state.

(C) If the currency is deposited in a deposit account at a financial institution in this state pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, the financial institution at which such deposit account is established shall not be required to segregate the currency deposited in such deposit account. No funds may be withdrawn from such deposit account except pursuant to a court order directed to the financial institution. Any withdrawal of funds from such deposit account shall be in the form of a check issued by the financial institution to the law enforcement agency or to such other payee as the court may order. Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit a financial institution from charging a fee for the maintenance and administration of such deposit account and for the review of the court order.

(D) If the currency is deposited in a deposit account at a financial institution in this state pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, any secondary evidence of the identity, description or value of such currency shall be admissible in evidence against a defendant in the trial of a criminal offense. The fact that the evidence is secondary in nature may be shown to affect the weight of such evidence, but not to affect its admissibility.

Approved June 20, 2001