THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
 TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as FSM v. Joseph ,
8 FSM Intrm. 469 (Chk. 1998)

[8 FSM Intrm. 469]

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA,
Plaintiff,

vs.

ALFRED JOSEPH,
Defendant.

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1998-1502
ORDER DENYING MOTION

Richard H. Benson
Associate Justice

Hearing:  October 29, 1998
Decided:  November 6, 1998

APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:          Joses Gallen, Esq.
                                     Chief of Litigation
                                     Office of the Chuuk Attorney General
                                     P.O. Box 189
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

For the Defendant:     Johnny Meippen, Esq.
                                     P.O. Box 705
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

*    *    *    *

HEADNOTES
Search and Seizure
     A criminal defendant has the right to move for the return of his property pursuant to Rule 41(e).  This offers prompt and adequate relief for his grievance.  FSM v. Joseph, 8 FSM Intrm. 469, 470 (Chk.

[8 FSM Intrm. 470]

1998).

Search and Seizure
     The government may retain property seized from a criminal defendant that is not contraband or subject to forfeiture when it intends to offer the items in evidence at trial, and has a plausible reason for so intending.  FSM v. Joseph, 8 FSM Intrm. 469, 470 (Chk. 1998).

*    *    *    *

COURT'S OPINION
RICHARD H. BENSON, Associate Justice:
     The defendant filed his Motion for Return of Property (Rule 41(e)) on October 28, 1998 for 1) a bank book, 2) $300 cash, 3) Visa credit card, 4) Continental OnePass card, 5) medications, and 6) an address book.  Defendant relies on Rule 41(e) of the FSM Rules of Criminal Procedure.  The matter was heard by consent on October 29, 1998.  The government does not oppose the return of items 3 through 6, and made those items available to the defendant.

     The parties made certain stipulations of fact for purposes of the hearing.  Following the testimony of a police detective, counsel presented argument.

     It is undisputed that the defendant arrived in Chuuk from Pohnpei on a Continental Micronesia flight from Pohnpei on October 20th.  He had an ice chest, a cardboard box and a small black suitcase.  Customs agents found what they suspected to be marijuana in the ice chest and notified the police.  The defendant was then arrested.  He concedes probable cause existed for the arrest.  The information was filed the next day.

     As a part of routine booking procedure at the police station the suitcase was searched and items 1 and 2 found.  The defendant does not challenge the legality of this search.

     The defendant does contend that the items are not contraband or subject to forfeiture.  Subject to the seizure, the defendant owns both.  The government does not dispute these contentions.  This being so, the defendant states that the items should have been returned to him at the time of his release on October 21st.

     The defendant secondly contends that the seizure should be set aside because he was not given a prompt post-seizure hearing at which the government must make a showing of probable cause for the seizure.  He relies on Ishizawa v. Pohnpei, 2 FSM Intrm. 67 (Pon. 1985).

     The passages cited in Ishizawa are dicta, and the case involves civil forfeiture.

     The defendant has the right, which he has exercised, to move for the return of the property pursuant to Rule 41(e).  This offers prompt and adequate relief for his grievance.  No authority is offered that the government's failure to provide a prompt post-seizure hearing warrants the return of the property.

     The government intends to offer the items in evidence at trial, and has a plausible reason for so intending.  Under these circumstances return is not warranted, even though the bank book and cash are not contraband or subject to forfeiture.  The defendant presented no authority that it should be returned.

[8 FSM Intrm. 471]

     The defendant alleges unlawful seizure of his property to justify its return under Rule 41(e).  The record does not reflect such illegality.  The motion is accordingly denied.
*    *    *    *
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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