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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16357
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi, on September 11th, 2009, I was arrested for selling marijuana

Customer Question

Hi, on September 11th, 2009, I was arrested for selling marijuana and I was manipulated into forfeiting my home to the government on that day. Since then I had been asking my lawyer to see what he could do about getting my house back because when I signed the paper, I was certainly not in the right state of mind and I was under duress. My home was not suppose to be solely in my name, but the bank that the home was financed through, had been previously contacted, by the police, during my investigation and the paperwork was changed without any approval and when it came to the closing date, the only name on the mortgage was mine. My lawyer has been telling me for months that there is nothing that can be done and my house has since been resold to someone else and I still have not been convicted of any crime, basicall what I want to know is, is there anything at all that can be done? should I find a new lawyer?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Cedric replied 4 years ago.
Yes, other than telling you can and should find a new lawyer, I don't know what else can be done to help alleviate your situation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can you give me an explanation as to why I should get a new lawyer? He is suppose to be "the best" and certainly should be for $25,000. Do you think I should find a seperate lawyer for this dilemma and keep mine for the drug charges? Sorry but I know you dont expect me to pay 30 bucks for you to tell me to get a new lawyer, everyone has been telling me that. Plus I already paid him $10,000 so it's hard to just get rid of him.
Expert:  Cedric replied 4 years ago.
Well, if he is not adequately representing you that is definitely a good reason. I'm not giving you this advice for you to pay me, it just seems that from your situation you need new counsel.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
But what if he really did do everything he could do? I don't want to waste thousands of dollars to have other lawyers review my case and simply tell me that there's nothing more that can be done. Because the last lawyer I called said he wanted $1,000 and that he knew my lawyer and felt confident that he's doing everything he can. I just don't understand how something was taken from me that wasn't even solely mine and then resold before I've even been convicted. If you were my lawyer, would you feel confident in telling me that you could get my house back, or at least get me compensated for my loss?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Doesn't anyone have any advice for me?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

I do have advice, though it's probably not going to be to your liking. Keep your present lawyer, especially if he's a good trial attorney, because as far as the house goes he's right. There's going to be nothing that you can do, and any lawyer who tries to talk you into retaining him by saying otherwise is unlikely to succeed.

The authority for the US government to effect the forefeiture of your home, whether or not you are even convicted of this crime is vested here in the United States Code, Title 21, 881

This chapter details the process.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to focus on winning your trial.

___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.




Edited by FranL on 6/4/2010 at 3:26 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for providing me with some real factual information. I have one other question, on the morning I was arrested, I asked the officers if I could take my daily medication for my ADHD and they said no, they also denied me of even brushing my teeth. Considering the fact that I was not on my daily meds, I could not have been in the right state of mind to sign any papers, let alone forefeit my hom., Do you think I may have a leg to stand on considering this evidence?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

Honestly, I can't be sure as I am a criminal rather than a civil lawyer. I've had clients with forfeiture issues and know how those issues arose and under what statutory authority. But from there, I sent them to civil lawyers and concentrated on the criminal case.

However, as you have read, the Feds have the authority to take your home and dispose of it any number of ways and they would have taken it whether or not you'd signed the paperwork. What you gave up was the right to a hearing that -- the Federal Government being what it is and the case against you still a problem for you -- you'd probably be unable to win anyway. I'm speaking realistically. These civil forfeiture laws, whether it's the state or the Federal government, whether it's your house, your car, or your computers, or what have you are great sources of revenue for the government. Typically there is only a small window of opportunity to challenge these things and it usually ends up cheaper not to.

Don't let me discourage you though. You have what seems like a valid argument about a lack of due process if you were denied what you needed to make a fully rational decision. You might be entitled, if not to the house back then to some financial compensation for their having stepped on your rights. On the other hand, you'd probably need a full acquittal to prevail. So once again, all I can tell you is to put your energies into the criminal issue. What happens there could have a bearing on any civil suit, anyway.

___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.

Edited by FranL on 6/5/2010 at 2:05 AM EST
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16357
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok, well thank you very much for your advice. I figured it's probably not worth trying to get anything back, I just thought I'd ask for some second opinions because I truly didn't know if I could even trust my own lawyer.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the accept, and best of luck with the case!

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