Civil Forfeiture | Am I Entitled to Discovery | Criminal Lawyer Ellijay, Ga
Unfortunately, you are not automatically entitled to discovery in your civil asset forfeiture case. The Georgia Legislature chose to remove the civil asset forfeiture process from the normal process of civil discovery. However, that does not mean that you cannot still get discovery during your civil asset forfeiture case. OCGA 9-16-12 governs the civil forfeiture procedure act, and while it strips a defendant’s automatic right for discovery, it leaves an option for any party to the case to apply for discovery at any time prior to trial.
Practically, this makes the answer maybe. When facing a civil asset forfeiture case, your Attorney will most likely (depending on strategy) file a motion requesting discovery and request the Judge on the case rule on the motion before proceeding any further. This means, the Judge who has been assigned your case will determine if you can avail yourself of the civil discovery process.
Many strong and convincing legal arguments exist for allowing discovery in a forfeiture case – due process, the Defendant being put at a disadvantage – unable to testify due to implicating themselves in the criminal case and without the benefit of discovery – unable to mount a vigorous defense, certain defenses such as the property being seized illegally require discovery to present, the basic tenants of fairness and justice, and finally the core principals and reasons for discovery – to pare down issues, help reveal the truth, aid the fact-finder in making a correct decision, and promoting fairness and justice.
If you are facing a civil forfeiture action, call Teague Law today, North Georgia's Most Trusted and Reviewed Criminal Lawyer. You can speak with an experienced Attorney who can Turn the Tide in Your Favor.