Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 39: Criminal Offenses

Chapter 11: General Provisions

Part 7: Disposition of Forfeited Property

TCA 39-11-704: Property exempt from forfeiture.

(a)  No interest in any property described in § 39-11-703(a) shall be subject to forfeiture when one (1) of the following conditions is established:

     (1)  If the owner or interest holder acquired the property before the conduct alleged to give rise to its forfeiture;

     (2)  If the owner or interest holder acquired the property during or after the conduct alleged to give rise to its forfeiture, and the owner or interest holder acquired this interest as a good faith purchaser for value, or acquired this interest in a commercially reasonable manner, and the owner or interest holder:

          (A)  Acted reasonably to prevent the conduct giving rise to forfeiture; or

          (B)  Did not know of the acts giving rise to forfeiture.

(b)  No interest in real or personal property shall be forfeited under § 39-11-703(b), unless the owner or interest holder is convicted of a crime or crimes described in § 39-11-703(b). If the owner or interest holder is an entity other than a natural person, the property shall not be forfeited unless the entity's officer, employee or agent is convicted of the crime or crimes under § 39-11-703(b) and the state shall also have the burden to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the following additional elements:

     (1)  The conviction is based on acts by the defendant in the course of and within the scope of the defendant's employment; and

     (2)  The entity knew or had reason to know from information in the entity's possession, other than through its convicted officer, employee or agent, of the criminal nature of the acts.

(c)  The state may stipulate that the interest of an owner or interest holder is exempt from forfeiture upon presentation of proof of the claim. The state shall file the stipulation with the court exercising jurisdiction over the forfeiture action and the filing of stipulation shall constitute an admission by the state that the interest is exempt from forfeiture. If a stipulation is submitted, then no further claim, answer or pleading shall be required of the stipulated owner or interest holder, and a judgment shall be entered exempting that interest from forfeiture.

(d)  If equipment and fixtures are seized while in possession of someone other than the owner, or are on premises that are padlocked and the owner of the equipment and fixtures has no interest in the padlocked premises, then the owner may obtain return of the equipment and fixtures, if the owner:

     (1)  Did not know of the act giving rise to forfeiture; or

     (2)  Acted reasonably to prevent the conduct giving rise to forfeiture.

History: [Acts 1998, ch. 979, § 4; 2009, ch. 432, §§ 2, 3.]