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First Substitute H.B. 287

Representative Keven J. Stratton proposes the following substitute bill:





Chief Sponsor: Keven J. Stratton

Senate Sponsor: John L. Valentine

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill amends the procedures for the return or disposal of weapons recovered by law
             11      enforcement.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    requires a law enforcement agency to return a firearm in its possession to the legal
             15      owner under certain requirements; and
             16          .    provides for a sworn declaration as acceptable evidence of ownership of property.
             17      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             18          None
             19      Other Special Clauses:
             20          None
             21      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             22      AMENDS:
             23          77-24-2, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapters 47 and 284
             24      REPEALS:
             25          76-10-525, as enacted by Laws of Utah 1973, Chapter 196

             27      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             28          Section 1. Section 77-24-2 is amended to read:
             29           77-24-2. Property not needed as evidence -- Child interview retention -- Return
             30      procedure -- Conflict resolution for secondhand merchandise.
             31          (1) Property which is not needed as evidence shall be returned to the owner, if the
             32      owner may lawfully possess it, or disposed of in accordance with this chapter.
             33          (2) (a) When the peace officer or the officer's employing agency becomes aware that
             34      the property is not needed as evidence, the officer or the agency shall inform the prosecuting
             35      attorney that the property is not needed and provide a description and details of ownership.
             36          (b) When the prosecuting attorney is informed or otherwise becomes aware that the
             37      property is not needed as evidence, the prosecuting attorney shall authorize release of the
             38      property to the owner.
             39          (c) When the peace officer or the officer's employing agency becomes aware that any
             40      property is to be returned to its owner, the officer or employing agency shall exercise due
             41      diligence in attempting to notify the rightful owner that the property is to be returned.
             42          (d) If the property is a weapon, the peace officer [shall dispose of it in accordance with
             43      Section 76-10-525 .] or the peace officer's employing agency shall retain or dispose of a weapon
             44      pursuant to the agency's weapon disposal policy, if:
             45          (i) the peace officer or the peace officer's employing agency is unable to determine the
             46      legal owner of the weapon;
             47          (ii) the legal owner may not lawfully possess the weapon; or
             48          (iii) the legal owner was convicted of a crime for which the weapon was used as
             49      evidence.
             50          (e) (i) Upon proof of ownership and of lawfulness of possession satisfactory to the
             51      evidence custodian, the custodian shall release the property to the owner.
             52          (ii) The evidence custodian shall accept a sworn declaration of ownership to establish
             53      ownership of the property.
             54          [(ii)] (iii) If the evidence custodian is unable to locate an owner of the property or if the
             55      owner is not entitled to lawfully possess the property, the agency having custody of the
             56      property shall dispose of the property in accordance with Section 77-24-4 .

             57          (f) If the property was seized from a pawnshop or a secondhand business, the
             58      procedure in Section 13-32a-109.5 shall be followed to return the property to the pawnshop or
             59      secondhand business.
             60          (3) (a) When property is received in evidence, the clerk of the court last receiving it
             61      shall retain the property or the clerk shall return the property to the custody of the peace officer.
             62      The property shall be retained by the clerk or the officer until all direct appeals and retrials are
             63      final, at which time the property shall be returned to the owner in accordance with this chapter.
             64      If the property was seized for forfeiture, it shall be held and disposed of as provided in Title 24,
             65      Chapter 1, Utah Uniform Forfeiture Procedures Act.
             66          (b) If the prosecuting attorney considers it necessary to retain control over the
             67      evidence, in anticipation of possible collateral attacks upon the judgment or for use in a
             68      potential prosecution, the prosecuting attorney may decline to authorize return of the property
             69      to the owner.
             70          (4) If a peace officer or the officer's employing agency records an interview of a minor
             71      child during an investigation of a violation of Section 76-5-402.1 , 76-5-402.3 , 76-5-403.1 , or
             72      76-5-404.1 , the peace officer's employing agency shall retain a copy of the recording for 18
             73      years following the date of the last recording unless the prosecuting attorney requests in writing
             74      that the recording be retained for an additional period of time.
             75          (5) If a conflict exists between the provisions of this section and Title 13, Chapter 32a,
             76      Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act, Title 13, Chapter 32a
             77      governs regarding disposition of property held by a pawn or secondhand business in the course
             78      of its business.
             79          Section 2. Repealer.
             80          This bill repeals:
             81          Section 76-10-525, Disposition of weapons after use for court purposes.

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