CHAPTER 10.50.- DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY

10.50.010. Definitions.

10.50.020. Disposition of found property.

10.50.030. Disposition of property seized or held by the city.

10.50.040. Proof of ownership.

10.50.050. Disposition of unclaimed property.

10.50.060. Notification.

10.50.070. Appeal.

10.50.080. Abandoned intangible property.

 

10.50.010. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:

Contraband means any goods, merchandise or other personal property, which is illegal for the claiming party to possess.

Criminal instruments means any personal property seized as evidentiary property and used directly in the commission of any criminal act, other than such property used in the commission of a traffic offense.

Evidentiary property means any goods, merchandise or other personal property obtained as evidence in, or the fruit of, any criminal investigation.

Good faith purchaser for value means a person who has purchased goods, with honesty in fact and in the conduct or transaction concerned, and given sufficient consideration for the item purchased. In deciding on sufficiency of consideration, consideration may be given to whether the party claiming good faith purchaser status has been unjustly enriched by the transaction.

Intangible personal property means:

1. Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends and income;

2. Credit balances, customer overpayments, gift certificates, refunds, credit memos and unidentified remittances;

3. Stocks and other intangible ownership interests in business associations;

4. Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, coupons and other securities or to make distributions;

5. Security deposits, unpaid wages and unused airline tickets;

6. Deposits held by utilities;

7. Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance or similar benefits;

8. Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies; or

9. Bonds posted for court appearance or other reasons.

Owner means a party claiming title to property.

Personal property means any goods, currency, merchandise or other tangible items other than animals, contraband, evidentiary property or criminal instruments.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.010; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1; Ord. No. O-2003-64, § 1)

10.50.020. Disposition of found property.

Personal property which is found and turned in to the police department shall belong to the finder, upon request, after 60 days if no one claims the property, unless possession by the finder of the item is otherwise unlawful. The police shall try to find the owner by notice or publication according to section 10.50.060. If the finder does not claim the property after 60 days, the property shall be deemed city property and disposed as the police chief or designee finds appropriate. Personal property found by city employees in the course of their employment shall revert to the city, if unclaimed.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.020; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1)

10.50.030. Disposition of property seized or held by the city.

The police department shall dispose of property seized or held by the department after the property has fulfilled its judicial purpose as follows:

A. Contraband shall be destroyed or used for police training purposes.

B. Criminal instrument(s) used by the owner in a criminal episode shall be destroyed or converted to the police or city for any use serving a public purpose unless the owner is exonerated of all charges, including lesser included or lesser nonincluded offenses. Exoneration shall not include a plea of guilty to any charge in exchange for dismissal of any other charge, a deferred judgment and sentence, or a no contest plea or plea of nolo contendere. Exoneration shall include acquittal or dismissal of all charges arising from an alleged criminal episode or the failure of the district attorney, U.S. attorney or the city prosecutor to file any charge arising from the alleged criminal episode.

C. Criminal instrument(s) used by someone other than the owner in a criminal episode shall be destroyed or converted to the police or city for any use serving a public purpose unless the owner can prove to the chief of police or his designee, that the property had been taken from the owner and used without the owner’s consent, express or implied, or that the owner was not involved in the criminal acts and neither knew nor reasonably should have known of those acts. The chief of police or designee shall advise any owner, refused the return of criminal instruments, of the reasons for the refusal in writing.

1. The chief of police or his designee may consider these factors in deciding whether a criminal instrument should be returned by a person claiming to own the criminal instrument:

a. Whether the alleged owner of the property was also the primary user of the property;

b. Whether the property was titled in or conveyed to the alleged owner to avoid a forfeiture; and

c. Whether the alleged owner furnished the consideration for the purchase of the property.

2. If the criminal instrument is a weapon, the owner must additionally prove that the owner will take appropriate action to ensure that the weapon will not be used in the commission of a crime. Such action may include, but not be limited to, lawful transfer of the weapon to another, securing the weapon from the person who used it in the commission of a criminal act, or storage of the weapon away from the home or business address of the owner.

D. When no good faith purchaser for value has claimed evidentiary property, the police department shall return the evidentiary property to the owner after final resolution of any judicial proceedings or at any time before or after filing criminal charges with the approval of the prosecuting attorney. If the police department has information identifying the owner and the owner has not claimed the property, the department shall make reasonable efforts to notify the owner to claim the property. If the owner is unknown or has not been located through reasonable efforts, the police department shall attempt to find the owner by publication according to subsection 10.50.060(B).

E. When a good faith purchaser for value and an owner claim evidentiary property, the police department shall return the evidentiary property to its owner or to a good faith purchaser for value after final resolution of any judicial proceedings or at any time before or after filing criminal charges with the approval of the prosecuting attorney. Due process shall be provided to the owner and to a party claiming to be a good faith purchaser for value to determine the right to possession of the property if there is a party claiming to be a good faith purchaser for value. The police department shall give both the owner and any person claiming to be a good faith purchaser for value notice according to subsection 10.50.060A and shall notify the city attorney or his designee. The notice shall require a good faith purchaser for value to show proof of ownership or explain the claim to the property within ten business days of the police department taking possession of the property. The notice shall require an owner to show proof of ownership or explain its claim to the property within ten business days of receipt of notice from the police department of recovery of the property in question. An owner who initiates a lost or stolen property report is deemed to have provided sufficient claim to the property for the purpose of this section. If only one person claims the property, the property shall be given to that person upon proof of ownership or proof of being a good faith purchaser for value. If two or more parties claim the right to possess the property, the municipal court shall have jurisdiction of the property for the purpose of determining the right of possession. In making its decision, the court shall consider the standards set forth in C.R.S. § 18-4-405, as amended.

F. If two or more parties claim ownership of any property under this section, the director of the department holding the property, or the director’s designee, shall notify the municipal court of the multiple claims and obtain a hearing date. The department shall give all parties claiming ownership notice of the hearing at least seven days prior to such hearing. The hearing shall be conducted according to due process standards appropriate for administrative hearings. The parties shall be permitted the right to legal representation, and to present and confront evidence. Any person who has provided proof of ownership according to section 10.50.040 to the city shall not be divested of property rights solely for failure to appear at the hearing. If a claimant has provided proof of ownership and does not appear at the hearing, a representative of the department holding the property shall present the proof of ownership and the court shall consider such proof in making a determination of ownership.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.030; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1; Ord. No. O-2003-64, § 2)

10.50.040. Proof of ownership.

An owner may claim property by providing evidence of lawful ownership by title, sales receipt, serial number or otherwise, to the satisfaction of the director or the director’s designee of the department holding the property. Directors or their designees, when refusing to turn over property, shall give the reasons for the refusal in writing and state that the claimant may appeal the decision by filing an appeal with the municipal court within ten days.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.040; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1)

10.50.050. Disposition of unclaimed property.

If personal property is still unclaimed 60 days after the procedures of this chapter have been followed or the court determines that none of the claiming parties is the owner; at the discretion of the police chief or designee, or director of the department in possession of the property:

A. The city may obtain the property for any use serving a public purpose; or

B. The property may be subject to public auction conducted by the purchasing department of the city; however, no firearm or other deadly weapon, or other item which may create a danger to the city or others, shall be subject to public auction; or

C. The property shall otherwise be destroyed or disposed of as appropriate.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.050; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1)

10.50.060. Notification.

A. Owner known. The director or designee of the department giving notice shall provide notice by personal service or shall send the notice by first class mail to the last known address, to any person identified in this chapter entitled to notice. The last known address of the owner shall be the last address of the owner as shown by the records of the municipal department or agency holding the property. The notice shall include a description of the property, the amount or estimated value of the property, and when available, the purpose for which the property was deposited or otherwise held or seized. The notice shall state where the owner may make inquiry of or claim the property. The notice shall also state that if the owner fails to provide the director with a written claim for the return of the property within the time set by the pertinent ordinance, ownership of the property shall be deemed waived. If service is by mail for notice of a hearing, the notice must be mailed at least 14 days before the hearing.

B. Notification by publication. When the owner of held property is unknown or there is no known address of the owner or person having found the property, the director, or designee, shall publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. The notice shall give a description of the property, the owner of the property, if known, the amount or estimated value of the property and, when available, the purpose for which the property was deposited or otherwise held. The notice shall state where the owner may make inquiry of or claim the property. The notice shall also state that if the owner fails to provide the director with a written claim for the return of the property within 60 days of the date of the publication of the notice, the property shall become the sole property of the city or be given to another party claiming the property and any claim of the owner to such property shall be deemed forfeited.

C. [Exception.] Property having a reasonable market value of $25.00 or less need not be particularly described or have the value listed, and notice for such items is sufficient if the public is given an opportunity to inspect it during normal business hours of the city before disposition.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.060; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1; Ord. No. O-2003-64, § 3)

10.50.070. Appeal.

A. Any party who is refused property by a department holding the property, may appeal the refusal to the municipal court which shall have jurisdiction to decide the ownership and disposition of the property. The party must appeal the refusal within ten days of receipt of the refusal by making a written request for a hearing in the municipal court and providing the court with a copy of the reasons for the refusal. The clerk of the court shall notify the director of the department holding the property and the city attorney of the hearing date. If a stated reason for refusal to turn over property is the belief that another person owns the property, the clerk of the court shall provide that person notice of the hearing. The director or the director’s designee and the city attorney or the city attorney’s designee shall appear for the hearing. The hearing shall be conducted according to due process standards appropriate for administrative hearings.

B. Any party claiming ownership of the property and aggrieved by the decision of the municipal court may appeal the decision pursuant to Rule 106(a)(4) C.R.C.P., within 30 days of the decision.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.070; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1)

10.50.080. Abandoned intangible property.

Intangible property held by the city which is unclaimed by the owner one year after becoming payable or distributable is presumed abandoned and shall be returned to the appropriate fund of the city. The holding department shall give the owner notice according to section 10.50.060. If two or more persons assert a claim of ownership, the municipal court shall have jurisdiction of the property to determine ownership. The city attorney or the city attorney’s designee shall represent the department holding the property.

(Code 1993, § 10.50.080; Ord. No. O-96-72, § 1)