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69-55. Procedure when goods are confiscated

In all cases of seizures of any tobacco, or other property hereafter made as being subject to forfeiture under the provisions of this chapter, which in the opinion of the officer or person making the seizure, is of the appraised value of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) or more, the said officer or person shall proceed as follows:

First:  He shall cause a list containing a particular description of the tobacco or other property seized to be prepared in duplicate, and an appraisement thereof to be made by three (3) sworn appraisers to be selected by him, who shall be respectable and disinterested citizens of this state, residing within the county wherein the seizure was made.  Said list and appraisement shall be properly attested by said officer, or person, and the said appraisers, for which service each of said appraisers shall be allowed the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) per day for not exceeding two (2) days, to be paid as other costs.

Second:  If the said tobacco, or other property seized, is believed by the officer making the seizure to be of less value than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), no appraisement shall be made.

Third:  The officer or person making the seizure shall proceed to give notice thereof for five (5) days, in writing, at three (3) places in the county where the seizure is made.  One (1) of the notices shall be posted at the county courthouse;  another at the place where the goods were seized;  and the other at some public place.  The notice shall describe the property seized, and state the time and place and cause of seizure, and give the name and place of residence, if known, of the person from whom the property was seized, and shall require any person claiming it to appear and make such claims in writing, within five (5) days from the date of the first posting of such notice.  Such officer or person making the seizure shall also deliver to the person from whom the property was seized, and also to the owner, if known, a copy of said notice.

Fourth:  Any person claiming the said property so seized as contraband within the time specified in the notice, may file with the commissioner a claim, in writing, stating his interest in the property seized, and may execute a bond to the State of Mississippi in a penal sum equal to double the value of said property so seized, but in no case shall said bond be less than the sum of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), with securities to be approved by the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the property is seized, conditioned that in the case of condemnation of the property so seized, the obligor shall pay to the State of Mississippi the full value of the property so seized, and all costs and expenses of the proceedings to obtain such condemnation, including a reasonable attorney's fee.  And upon the delivery of such bond to the commissioner, he shall transmit the same with the duplicate list or description of the property seized to the county attorney of the county, or the district attorney of the district in which such seizure was made, and the said county attorney, or district attorney, as the case may be, shall prosecute the case to secure the forfeiture of said property in the court having jurisdiction.  Upon the filing of the bond aforesaid, the said property shall be delivered to the claimant pending the outcome of the case, provided he shall at once affix the required stamps on cigarettes or pay the tax due on other tobacco products.

Fifth:  If no claim is interposed, and no bond given within the time above specified, such property shall be forfeited without further proceedings, and the same shall be sold as herein provided, and the proceeds of the sale, when received by the commissioner, shall be paid into the State Treasury as are other funds collected, provided, that in seizures of property of less value than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), the same may be advertised with other quantities at Jackson by the commissioner and disposed of as hereinabove provided.

Sixth:  In proceedings to secure a confiscation of the property hereinbefore mentioned, where the value of the goods seized at one time does not exceed the amount provided in Section 9-11-9 , the justice court judge of the county where the property is seized shall have jurisdiction to try the cause.  Where the value of the property seized at one time is in excess of the amount provided in Section 9-11-9 , then the circuit court of the county where the property is seized shall have jurisdiction to try the cause;  provided, that in counties having a county court, the county court shall have jurisdiction concurrent with the circuit court, and with the justice court where the value of the property seized does not exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).

The proceedings against property seized according to the provisions of this chapter shall be considered a proceeding in rem unless otherwise herein provided.

Within ten (10) days after filing the bond provided for in paragraph fourth hereof, the claimant shall file a petition in the court having jurisdiction of said cause, which shall stand for a declaration, and the commissioner, or other party authorized to prosecute the confiscation of said property, shall plead to it as if it were an ordinary action at law, and the same rules of pleading and proceeding applicable to actions in the circuit court shall be observed in this action, and all issues made by the pleadings shall be tried and disposed of as other actions in the circuit court, and the judgment of the circuit court shall be framed to meet the circumstances of the case and the cost shall be adjudged as in other actions;  provided, however, neither the state, nor the commissioner, nor any other person representing the state, shall be liable for the cost in the event the court shall not confiscate the property in controversy.

The seizure, forfeiture and sale of contraband goods under this section and Section 27-69-53 is supplemental and in addition to the seizure, forfeiture and sale of contraband tobacco provided for in Section 27-69-56 .  Where a basis exists under both this section and Section 27-69-53 and under Section 27-69-56 for the seizure, forfeiture and sale of the same contraband goods, such actions can proceed simultaneously.  Where such simultaneous seizure, forfeiture and sale is undertaken and there is a conflict between the procedures contained in this section and Section 27-69-53 and those contained in Section 27-69-56 , the procedures contained in Section 27-69-56 shall control and be followed.

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