WA: Crime victim stated claim for conversion against state for return of property

A crime victim has a right to return of property pending an investigation if the state doesn’t need it for court. “Our ruling today does not undermine the City’s interest in protecting sensitive records regarding ongoing criminal investigations. Ms. Burton is not entitled to law enforcement reports or witness statements. She has no claim to items of evidence that did not belong to her son. The burden on the City to justify retention of property under RCW 7.69.030 is not significantly greater than what is required for a search warrant inventory. To the extent the City believes that explaining the basis for retention of a particular piece of evidence will disclose sensitive law enforcement information, it is free to explore protective remedies.” Burton v. City of Spokane, 2021 Wash. App. LEXIS 625 (Mar. 18, 2021). (They can just photograph for use at trial. A stolen car doesn’t end up coming to the court room, and guns and cash often don’t. Bulky evidence doesn’t either.)

The defense wasn’t entitled to the identity of the CI making the controlled buy observed by an officer that led to the search warrant. The controlled buy is the probable cause, it’s not the case. State v. Tassin, 2021 La. App. LEXIS 373 (La. App. 5 Cir. Mar. 17, 2021).

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