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2016 Florida Statutes

SECTION 43
Judgment of forfeiture.
F.S. 849.43
849.43 Judgment of forfeiture.On final hearing the return of the sheriff to the clerk of the circuit court shall be taken as prima facie evidence that the property seized was or had been used in, or in connection with, the violation of the statutes and laws of this state prohibiting lotteries and gambling in this state and shall be sufficient predicate for a judgment of forfeiture in the absence of other proofs and evidence. The burden shall be upon the claimants to show that the property was not so used or if so used that they had no knowledge of such violation and no reason to believe that the seized property was or would be used for the violation of such statutes and laws. Where such property is encumbered by a lien or retained title agreement under circumstances wherein the lienholder had no knowledge that the property was or would be used in violating such statutes and laws, and no reasonable reason to believe that it might be so used, then the court may declare a forfeiture of all other rights, titles and interests, subject, however, to the lien of such innocent lienholder, or may direct the payment of such lien from the proceeds of any sale of the said property. The proceedings and the judgment of forfeiture shall be in rem and shall be primarily against the property itself. Upon the entry of a judgment of forfeiture the court shall determine the disposition to be made of the property, which may include the destruction thereof, the sale thereof, the allocation thereof to some governmental function or use, or otherwise as the court may determine. Sales of such property shall be at public sale to the highest and best bidder therefor for cash after 2 weeks’ public notice as the court may direct. Where the property has been delivered to a claimant upon the posting of a bond the court shall determine the value of the property or portion thereof subject to forfeiture and shall enter judgment against the principal and surety of the bond in such amount for which execution shall issue in the usual manner. Upon the application of any claimant the court may fix the value of the forfeitable interest or interests in the seized property and permit such claimant to redeem the said property upon the payment of a sum equal to said value, which sum shall be disposed of as would the proceeds of a sale of the said property under a judgment of forfeiture.
History.s. 9, ch. 29712, 1955.