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People v. One 1941 Chevrolet Coupe

Supreme Court of California

May 25, 1951

L. A. No. 21780


 [*285]  [**833]   This appeal is from a judgment ordering forfeiture of an automobile to the state. After decision by the District Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three, a hearing was granted by this court in order to give further consideration to the important question of law involved.  [**834]  We have concluded that the opinion of the District Court of Appeal, prepared by Mr. Justice Vallee, correctly discusses and decides this question. That opinion, with deletions and additions that have been made for the purpose of discussing certain contentions [***2]  urged upon us by the attorney general, is adopted as the opinion of this court. As modified, the opinion is as follows:

"The State instituted this proceeding by filing a 'Notice of Seizure and Intended Forfeiture Proceedings' as provided by sections 11612 and 11613 of the Health and Safety Code. The notice alleged that the automobile had been seized pursuant to section 11611 of that code and that it 'was used to unlawfully conceal, convey, carry or transport marihuana, and marihuana was unlawfully in the possession of an occupant.' The registered owner and the legal owner answered separately, denying the allegations of the notice. The legal owner alleged that, prior to the seizure, it loaned $ 886.52 to the registered owner and received a chattel mortgage which was duly filed for record and is a first lien on the automobile. It also alleged that, prior to making the loan, it made a 'reasonable investigation of the moral responsibility, character and reputation of the [registered owner] . . . and found the same to be good,' and that there was a balance due of $ 865.57, with interest.

"The court found that the automobile was used contrary to the provisions of section 11610 of [***3]  the Health and Safety Code and that the legal owner did not, prior to the loan, make a reasonable investigation of the moral responsibility, character and reputation of the registered owner. The legal owner appeals from the judgment.

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37 Cal. 2d 283 *; 231 P.2d 832 **; 1951 Cal. LEXIS 285 ***

THE PEOPLE, Respondent, v. ONE 1941 CHEVROLET COUPE, ENGINE NO. AA430562 et al., Defendants; FRED W. GRAY COMPANY (a Corporation), Appellant

Prior History:  [***1]  APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Philip H. Richards, Judge.

Proceeding for forfeiture of automobile used for illegal transportation of marihuana.

Disposition: Reversed. Judgment ordering forfeiture, reversed.


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