NE: Court with jurisdiction over criminal case has jurisdiction to return property seized

When a criminal case is over, the defendant is entitled to return of non-contraband seized property from the court with jurisdiction over the criminal case. In an IFP case, the court declines to say that he pled wrong in seeking replevin. Nebraska is a notice pleading state. Dortch v. City of Omaha, 26 Neb. App. 244 (Aug. 24, 2018):

Section 29-818 makes clear that if the matter in which the property or funds is seized results in a charge, the court in which such complaint was filed has exclusive jurisdiction for disposition of the property or funds. See State v. Agee, 274 Neb. 445, 741 N.W.2d 161 (2007). That said, “While the government is permitted to seize evidence for use in investigation and trial, such property must be returned once criminal proceedings have concluded, unless it is contraband or subject to forfeiture.” Id. at 450, 741 N.W.2d at 166. The proper procedure to obtain the return of seized property is to apply to the court for its return. …

Nebraska is a notice pleading state. “Under the liberalized rules of notice pleading, a party is only required to set forth a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Davio v. Nebraska Dept. of Health & Human Servs., 280 Neb. 263, 268, 786 N.W.2d 655, 661-62 (2010). Here, Dortch pled that his cash was illegally seized by police. Dortch seeks return of the money.

We cannot say that a civil replevin action is an improper remedy for the return of seized property under all circumstances. For instance, an action in replevin may be available in connection with property seized but never returned in connection with certain investigations which never result in a charge being filed. …

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