(A) The prosecutor of the political subdivision in which property described in division (A) of section 2981.02 of the Revised Code is located may commence a civil forfeiture action under this section by filing in the court of common pleas of the county in which the property is located a complaint requesting an order that forfeits the property to the state or a political subdivision. The filing shall be consistent with division (F) of section 2981.03 of the Revised Code.
(B) Prior to or upon the commencement of a civil forfeiture action, the prosecutor shall attempt to identify any person with an interest in the property subject to forfeiture by searching appropriate public records and making reasonably diligent inquiries. The prosecutor shall give notice of the commencement of the civil action, together with a copy of the complaint, to each person who is reasonably known to have any interest in the property, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service. The prosecutor shall cause a similar notice to be published once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is located.
(C) A person with an interest in the property subject to forfeiture may petition the court to release the property pursuant to division (D) of section 2981.03 of the Revised Code. The court shall consider the petition as provided in that section. If a timely petition for pretrial hardship release is not filed, or if a petition is filed but not granted, the person may file a claim for the release of the property under the Rules of Civil Procedure. The court shall dispose of any petitions timely filed under this division.
(D) The court shall issue a civil forfeiture order if it determines that the prosecutor has proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture under section 2981.02 of the Revised Code, and, after a proportionality review under section 2981.09 of the Revised Code when relevant, the trier of fact specifically describes the extent of the property to be forfeited. A civil forfeiture order shall state that all interest in the property in question of the adult or juvenile who committed the act that is the basis of the order is forfeited to the state or political subdivision and shall make due provision for the interest in that property of any other person, when appropriate under this section. The court may issue any additional order to affect the forfeiture, including, but not limited to, one or more orders under section 2981.06 of the Revised Code.
(E) If the court disposes of all petitions timely filed under this section in favor of the state or political subdivision, the state or political subdivision shall have clear title to the property that is the subject of a forfeiture order under this section, but only to the extent that other parties' lawful interests in the property are not infringed. To the extent that the state or political subdivision has clear title to the property, the state or political subdivision may warrant good title to any subsequent purchaser or other transferee.
Effective Date: 07-01-2007