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Statute of limitations with warrant seizures

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1stAmend

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? New Jersey

I am represented by a lawyer, but so far I have not been able to get straight answers...

Over 12 months ago, I was raided as agents served warrants for alledged dvd piracy and failure to pay state sales taxes. Only 2 of the dozen or so agents had anything to do with taxes, and without getting into the details, the other officers were from a NJ criminal department that has nothing to do with either taxes or piracy. From the start, I knew this had nothing to do with the actual warrants, but it was a fishing expedition to find something else against me. At the time of the warrants, they seized my computers, cameras, a webcam, a palm pilot and all of my businesses's receipts and invoices. Luckily, I had my passwords saved on paper, so my business was able to continue after a few weeks of struggling and buying new PCs.

Now, it is has been over 13 months and I have not been charged with any crimes and there have been no indictments and no grand jury. When my lawyer called the Assistant DA a few weeks ago, they claimed they weren't familiar with me or my case, but would get back to my lawyer. This week, my lawyer got them on the phone again and they claimed the investigation into me is on-going and they would "do what they could to give me copies of my files" so I can file taxes, etc. My items are still seized and my case is still in a department that has absolutely nothing to do with taxes or piracy. My lawyer feels they are just stringing me along and have nothing. Since it has been over a year, I feel they would have indicted me or at least had a grand jury by now.

My question is this - how long can they keep seized items without indicting me? It does not seem legal that they can get warrants and then possess your computers and business paperwork for over a year without any indictment. At this stage, I want my items back or I'd love them to indict me so I could put this to an end.
 


I can see why you couldn't get a straight answer with your lawyer. I just read the NJ laws on siezure and statue of limitations and its the most unclear thing I have ever read. The limit for prosecuting a crime is 5 years so thats when i think you'd be able to get your stuff back.
 

1stAmend

Junior Member
Legal Theft?

So, you are saying that they could keep possession of my computers and business receipts and paperwork for 5 years? I need the paperwork to file 2004's taxes and it's unbelievable to me that they could keep my possessions without being forced to indict or have a grand jury.

Can you tell me where I can find more on the statute of limitations between executed warrants and indictments. I was read my rights, but I was never arrested or charged. They simply sat me down at a table while they rounded up all of my computers and paperwork. I believe the entire purpose was political and to put me out of business or to find information unrelated to the actual warrants. Everyone I have talked to has stated that they would have indicted me or arrested me if there was any evidence, that they would never wait over 13 months if they had any valid proof. Personally, this is extremely stressful and I won't be able to relax until my stuff is returned to me and this is officially ended. Since I am not a criminal and am not involved with anything illegal, I find it ironic they'd tell my lawyer that it's an "on-going investigation." I believe my stuff is sitting on a shelf in an evidence room.
 
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1stAmend

Junior Member
Last dirct effort at info

Hello, I had expected more advice or opinions, but I realize this is a free website and people are helping out of their own time.

With that said, I simply have one request for advice. Should I sit back and allow the officers to keep my stuff and not cause a stink? Or, should I have my lawyer do everything and anything, as far as motions and contacting the assistant DA, to get my items back. I am not familiar with cases like this, but everyone (including my lawer) has indicated that the state would not wait over a year since obtaining all of my computers, receipts and paperwork to file an indictment or form a grand jury IF THEY HAD EVIDENCE. All advice believes they couldn't find anything, so they would old onto my items to cause me as much duress and stress as possible. So if anyone has any knowlegde of this type of complicated case - should I simply do my best to move on until they either indict me or release my possessions or should I have lawyer become as aggressive as possible. That could backfire and it could give them reason to nit pick, when now I think they are not doing anything with my materials.
 
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legal_bs

Member
it depends how guilty you are. if you have serious reason to worry that you could face a lot of jail time, i would try to wait it out. unless, they are just taking their time with the material, and trying to get a stronger case against you. if that is the case, try to get it back before they find enough evidence to file the charges.
 

1stAmend

Junior Member
Xmas gifts

Coincidentally, my lawyer called today and indicated the state could hold the materials for 5 years, but would have to give me copies of the paperwork and files for tax and business purposes.
Due to the amount of time already spent and the fact that the department that has my materials has nothing to do with the warrants, both my lawyer and another criminal defense lawyer he contacted believe the state has absolutely nothing or they would have charged me by now or held a grandjury. Due to the nature of the charges, all evidence would be on the PCs and paperwork and an "on-going investigation," as they claim to keep my possessions, would not reveal anything new.

At this time, I am going to request copies for tax purposes and then wait to see what they are going to do. I honestly feel they wouldn't have waited one year for this if they had evidence. But this is political and they will surely allow my PCs to collect dust before willingly returning them.
 

legal_bs

Member
one thing you can probably count on is that they are not going to go out of their way to give you back anything they seized, even if they couldn't come up with anything to charge you with based on the evidence.

it's pretty sad that they wouldn't just admit that they couldn't find anything and give all your stuff back, but the state is obviously a corrupt power which won't do the right thing, unless it will help them to look better, and more justified for their actions, ie. seizing your equipment in the first place.
 

1stAmend

Junior Member
One last question

Ok... I was raided over 1 year ago and so far, I have not heard anything. My lawyer talked to the assistant DA 2 weeks ago and she claimed she had no knowledge of me or my case. They talked again last week and she then said my case was "on-going" and they'd supply copies of paperwork and any files for taxes.

Here's my question. Say it's in my best interest not to waste my time and money filing motions for my posessions, since the judge will just deny them. Do I simply assume I will never get my computers back or at some point would the state contact me so I could get them? I have many personal pictures on the computers, as well as files and programs I never had a chance to back up.

I don't want to pester them and have them charge me due to that, but I don't want my computers and cameras stolen forever, either. Can anyone recommend what they would do?
 

1stAmend

Junior Member
Not so much of an update

NJ
Ok, I have already gone over most of the facts that I can discuss. As I had started the state had search warrants for the piracy of DVDs and failture to pay state sales tax. I knew these charges were bogus as 95% of the raid officers were from a seperate division that does not handle these types of charges.
Now, i was told I could have copies of files that are in the computers they STOLE and receipts and invoices. The Deputy AG is now saying they can't make copies of the harddrive and I'd have to ask specifically which files I want copies of. These PCs and paperwork were confiscated in a raid in September 2004, how could I possibly remember 12 months ago? I need all invoices and receipts and I need all computer files as they are relevant in filing my federal tax reserves. These swine have had 12 months to investigate with their evidence and although my lawyer says they can legally possess my items for over 5 years, I think they should legally be forced to give me copies of everything.
Can anyone give me insight to this or point me in the direction of any cases where someone was raided and had materials confiscated, but nothing was done over a year? I really need to know what to do, if I don't file federal taxes, then I will be in even greater trouble than what the state is doing.
 

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