What canI do to get my belongings back from police if they were unlawfully seized?

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What canI do to get my belongings back from police if they were unlawfully seized?

My truck was parked in front of my neighbor’s house. The police showed up and recovered stolen property from there. When I came out to my truck to leave an officer stopped me and asked me some questions, then he started looking in the back of my truck. He asked me about a chainsaw that I had, like where did I get it, how much did I pay for it? I answered his questions, he then said he was going to run the numbers on it to see if it was stolen. He did that and of course it came back clear. He then said that he was going to take it anyway because the price I paid was to cheap so it had to be stolen.

Asked on April 2, 2011 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to immediately contact the district attorney who was behind that warrant because essentially this overzealous officer stepped all over the 4th amendment and forgot that perhaps the warrant they had was only for the home and while your car was parked on a public street, in plain sight, unless they were looking for a stolen chainsaw and unless that chainsaw came back as stolen, that officer had no right to seize said item. So, you need to explain to that attorney that a) you were not arrested, b) you did nothing wrong, c) you did not steal a chainsaw, d) the title came back clear and d) the officer seized it unlawfully. If the district attorney doesn't want to compromise his or her case against the intended defendent, he or she may wish to immediately hand it over and then some for your lack of use.


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