WHEREAS, it has been determined that procedures to process petitions and orders for the disposal of wildlife, freshwater and/or saltwater products seized during lawful arrests pursuant to chapter 379, Florida Statutes, would be beneficial;
NOW THEREFORE, I, TERENCE R. PERKINS, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, hereby order that in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties, law enforcement officers who confiscate perishable fish and/or game products incidental to arrests pursuant to Chapter 379, Florida Statutes, may dispose of such evidence in accordance with the following procedures:
- In order to determine the fair value of confiscated fish and/or game products, unless otherwise determined by a judge, three (3) bids must be obtained and the value set at the highest price obtainable. Once fair value has been established, the defendant shall be afforded an opportunity to post a bond or cash deposit in like amount, payable to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to be held in escrow. The defendant will then have 24 hours to transport the confiscated products out of state for sale or other disposition. If the defendant fails to post the required monetary amount, or submits a written waiver of his/her right to do so, the confiscated products will be sold to the highest bidder. Proceeds are to be made payable to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and held in escrow pending resolution of court proceedings.
- In the event confiscated fish and/or game products are undersized, taken during closed seasons, and/or cannot be lawfully sold in Florida, the law enforcement officer is to so indicate on the complaint affidavit. The law enforcement officer may then deliver said confiscated products to any charitable or governmental entity for use in feeding the indigent, sheltered and/or incarcerated, and is to properly receipt said transaction. The officer may retain a representative sample of the confiscated products for discover/evidentiary purposes until court proceedings are concluded.
- In the event confiscated saltwater products are inedible or otherwise unsuitable for human consumption, the law enforcement officer, after first retaining a representative sample for discovery/evidentiary purposes, may release said products back into the water/wild, destroy them, or use them for investigative/educational/scientific purposes.
- In all such instances, law enforcement officers are to prepare appropriate documentation detailing the manner of disposal of confiscated fish and/or game products and submit said documentation, along with complaint affidavits and other related information, to the State Attorney’s office.
- If corresponding court proceedings result in a conviction, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall deposit funds held in escrow into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. Such deposits shall constitute confiscation.
- If corresponding court proceedings result in an acquittal, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall return funds held in escrow to the defendant.
TO BE RECORDED in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
DONE AND ORDERED in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida this 30th day of June 2017.