What happens when the defendant dies?

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2019

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What happens when the defendant dies?

My dad was arrested and had a lot of his
property seized for having a small indoor
marijuana grow room. He was never officially
charged with anything by the grand jury. He
was planning on fighting all charges and
wouldn’t take any plea deals. He died before
this could be resolved. Can the state legally
keep the property they seized?

Asked on August 9, 2019 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the property was just evidence, they cannot keep it. But if it was used in a crime, is itself illegal to have, or was the "fruit" of a crime (e.g. was paid for with money from criminal acts), then the state can keep: they do not need to return the tools or proceeds from a crime, or anything inherently illegal.

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