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Posted: 3/15/2006 7:29:52 PM EDT
Long story short....
1. My house was burglarized.
2. 16 firearms stolen
3. 6 of them were recovered by the police
4. Guys who stole them are in jail
5. Guy they caught with them keeps getting continuances.

Almost 9 months have past and the prosecutor insists on keeping the recovered firearms even though they have had sufficient time to thoroughly analyze them and log them.

I am tired of waiting on nothing... I have been more than helpful to the police and prosecutors involved. The recovered firearms are worth several thousand dollars that I have not been compensated for in any way by anyone.

My question is will it do me any good to petition the court to release the recovered weapons. I mean if my car were stolen, I would not have to wait until the last guy at the chop shop went to trial to get my car back. Why is a firearm any different?

Any insight is welcome and appreciated.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 8:54:57 PM EDT
Unfortunately, you need a lawyer to answer the question of whether you need a lawyer!

The particular jurisdictions involved will have a far-reaching effect on what relief you can get. Only a lawyer in your state (preferably your immediate area) can really spell that out for you.

Just so you know, a quick consultation with a lawyer doesn't have to be expensive. Some might even let you have the consult for free if they can't help you. For example, maybe in your jurisdiction firearms are never released until the trials are concluded. In that case they might only need to talk to you for 10 minutes to know the answer and that they can't help you.

Futuristic
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 10:21:45 PM EDT
You can also ask the judge presiding over the case if it is necessary to keep the firearms.

Most local cases, we photo the guns and release them.

For a federal case, it will be released when the court is done.

An attorney won't do much for you........it is the DA's choice, but a judge can overrule that and force them to return the firearms. Just do it yourself.....
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 3:08:26 AM EDT
How do I go about asking the judge to release them? Do I need to file a motion? I tried calling him, but was told by his secretary that it would be a conflict of interest for him to talk to me. I don't understand how, this is not a civil suit. I think I will try again... Anyhow, thanks for the responses...

Link Posted: 3/16/2006 7:20:44 AM EDT
Send a certified letter to the judge. There shouldn't be any conflict of interest to prevent him from reading a letter. Also, send a copy to the DA. Be sure to include in the letter a request that if they are not willing to return the firearms, have them send you a letter explaining the legal basis by which they are going to hold them.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 10:15:26 AM EDT
In writing is the best way...... his choice not to talk with you is just a precaution of being prejudiced in any way (as if that would really happen, unless you are an A$$ or a handicapped old lady)

I would send one to the DA too.....

Are you ready for a good threat???

Tell the DA if he continues to hold your property, you will contact the suspect's attorney and agree not to press charges for the stolen property as long as some form of outside the court restitution is made by the suspect ($1 is a good number). That way the case is dead for the Possession of Stolen Property charge and they should have no reason to keep your property!

BTW, I would wait before using it......the other ways may work just fine and you won't be pissing off the DA too much! Also, are you talking to the case DA or his boss or the elected politician DA?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 3:28:22 PM EDT
thanks for the info... Good ideas....
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 3:32:33 PM EDT
One problem... I never filed charges... Only a police report... I also wonder how this would affect my insurance company's claim. Although the guy caught with the goods is not the guy who stole them...
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 10:52:39 PM EDT
The property is still stolen....and stolen from you. You are the victim of the crime. It doesn't matter whether that is the person that actually stole the firearms as he now possesses your property.

Now, you introduced another problem......

If you filed an insurance claim and the property listed was covered and you were compensated, you are no longer the legal owner.....the insurance company is. The insurance company will often adjust its payout or allow you to refund some of the money if you would prefer to have the recovered property.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 1:02:11 AM EDT
I was not compensated for anything that was recovered so I am still the owner. After my last post, I realized that the insurance company is not seeking restitution from the guy on trial now. He was just the guy who bought the stolen property (actually traded crack for it).

All these items were recovered by the Howard County Sheriff’s department. Yesterday I called one of my buddies who is a deputy and he recommended that I talk to the major or the sheriff and try to gain their assistance in getting them returned to me. I also have an appointment with a lawyer today. I will keep you guys informed on anything that arises or doesn't just incase you find yourself in the same position someday (hope not.... Lock your safes...)

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 2:12:04 AM EDT
watching to see how this one turns out.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:11:59 PM EDT
I talked to the lawyer today. It's going to cost me $150 for him to make a few calls, but if I get my guns back, it will be well worth it. The one thing I left knowing for sure is that I should have never become an engineer. I should have gone to law school. The lawyer I talked to was not able to spell out my options like I had hoped, but I made my case clear. I am willing to do anything to bring this to an end. So here is what my $150 got me
1. Name of the defense attorney
2. He will call the prosecuting attorney and try to convince him to let me have my stuff back.
3. He will try to arrange some "visitation" for me to inspect the condition of my firearms.
4. I found out the convicted felon who is currently being charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana is out on bail free to do whatever.
5. I found out the prosecuting attorney has been jerking my chain about trial dates.
6. The prosecutor is playing the system right along with the criminal in drawing this out.

I hope to have more news Tuesday. I'll keep you guys posted.

Link Posted: 3/21/2006 3:33:03 PM EDT
Update 3/21/06

I called my $150/hr attorney today to see what he could do for me. My money got me absolutely nothing. He says I am SOL. The guy they are prosecuting is a "real bad guy" as I have been told by the prosecutor and the local law enforcement. Frankly, I don't give a damn if he is Robin of the "Hood". So since this guy is a real bad guy, the prosecutor will not let up. My lawyer informed me that they need to present best possible evidence and the prosecutor is not willing to use an affidavit or recall me when it comes to trial. To any LEO's reading this, I hope you do not take offense, but I have absolutely no faith in the criminal justice system. I see a big deal made out of little things and this ass hole who is apparently a minis to society is walking the streets right now out on bond. I made it very clear that I did not care if this guy was prosecuted for having my stolen property or not and it did not matter. I was told they would prosecute the case anyway. The lawyer said they had a weak case on his other charges, but this one could make it stick. Also they are checking into a previous violent felon charge in the Peoples Republic of Illinois which could add anther 20 years to his sentence if convicted this time. So this will probably be drug out longer, likely years. As in plural. Meanwhile, I am out over 5 grand while the legal system takes its course.

Here is a summary:
1. My opinion as a victim doesn't count for shit. The prosecutor is going to do what he wants
2. The judge cannot force the prosecutor to release my goods (Doesn't mean that I am not going to try).
3. If you are going to participate in illegal activities, Howard County, IN is good place as the prosecutors used are less than impressive.

If any of you have any questions, fire away. I just found this stuff out and I am a little too pissed to properly record the details.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 5:07:04 PM EDT
#2 is wrong.....he can force them to release the goods.

BUT, if the DA makes a strong argument, they will hold onto them.

If he is such a bad guy, why isn't the case going federal?? That is the usual choice and they NEVER release firearms or evidence prior to trial.

It is just an example how the victim doesn't mean as much as they used to and the jury members no longer believe just pictures and want to see the real items.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:10:57 PM EDT
Not sure if this would work at all, but Ever think about calling the ATF and think about filing a complaint. The ATF does deal with firearms related activities. Partly I'm surprised that they stole 16 weapons that the ATF didn't get involved. I know of someone locally whose house was robbed and 2 AKs were taken, the ATF was involved immediately..

Not sure if that will work but its worth a shot.....
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 12:50:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2006 6:23:26 AM EDT by Bucky145]
You may want to contact your crime victim's advocate (they go by a few names) at your local courthouse. You should have one. They may be able to help you petition the court directly for the release of your property. On a side note you may be able to get some cash for the burglary to fix anything that was destroyed or for costs incurred by you due to this crime. Worth checking out.

Good luck.

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