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In re Property of Miles

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 27, 2017

IN RE PROPERTY OF TWYLA MILES

          Assigned on Briefs November 1, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. P-41223 J. Robert Carter, Jr., Judge

         This appeal involves an in rem forfeiture proceeding which was initiated after the appellant's property was seized as proceeds of illegal drug sales. The appellant did not file a claim in the forfeiture proceedings. On appeal, she asserts that she was denied due process because she did not receive notice of the forfeiture proceedings. The record does not support the appellant's assertion that she was not afforded adequate notice. We, therefore, affirm the decision of the trial court forfeiting the appellant's interest in the seized property.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Randall James Spivey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Twyla Miles.

          Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Michael A. Meyer, Special Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Andy D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., and J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., joined.

          OPINION

          ANDY D. BENNETT, JUDGE.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Twyla Miles was the purported co-owner of a piece of real estate on Parkland Road in Memphis, a 2002 Chevrolet van, and two bank accounts at the Bank of America. On April 23, 2015, the State of Tennessee filed a Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem and Notice of Lien Lis Pendens regarding the real property, the van, and the two bank accounts alleged to belong to Ms. Miles. The complaint sought forfeiture of the property pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-701 et seq. and includes the following pertinent allegations:

In 2014, Twyla Miles was identified as a supplier in a drug ring network during "Operation Whitehaven Dilaudid Family" conducted by the Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime Unit. . . . . . . .
Det. N. Payne of the Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime Unit prepared and swore to an Affidavit of Complaint wherein Twyla Miles was charged with Possess Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture/Deliver Sell, to wit: Dilaudid, pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-417, Possess Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture/Deliver/Sell, to wit: Xanax, pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-417, Possess Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture/Deliver/Sell, to wit: Oxycodone, pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-417 and Money Laundering Act of 1996 pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-14-903 that sets forth the narrative as follows: . . . . . . .
Three Notices of Property Seizure were prepared in this case for Twyla Miles and mailed to her on March 16, 2015, as receipt for the certain real property located at 1052 Parkland Road, the 2002 Chevrolet Workhorse P42 . . . and all bank accounts, funds and safe deposits associated with defendant Miles. Copies of the Notices of Property Seizure are attached hereto and incorporated by reference as though recited in full.
An Affidavit in Support of Forfeiture Warrant was issued in this matter on March 16, 2015. A copy of the Affidavit in Support of Forfeiture Warrant is attached hereto and incorporated by reference as though recited in full.
A State of Tennessee Forfeiture Warrant was issued in this matter on March 16, 2015. A copy of the State of Tennessee Forfeiture Warrant is attached hereto and incorporated by reference as though recited in full.
The State of Tennessee, through the District Attorney General, petitions this court to declare the real property that is the subject of this petition forfeit pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-11-70 et seq.

         Along with the complaint, the record includes notices of property seizure dated March 16, 2015 for the Parkland Road property, the bank accounts, the van, and the seized drugs. The record also contains a forfeiture warrant and supporting affidavit dated March 16, 2015 regarding all of the seized property. As requested in the complaint, the criminal court issued a notice of lien lis pendens with respect to the real property.

         On April 23, 2015, the clerk of the criminal court sent a letter to Ms. Miles informing her that the State had filed a petition for forfeiture and enclosing a copy of that document. The letter further states:

The State is seeking the forfeiture of certain real property located at 1052 Parkland Road, Memphis, Tennessee, a 2002 Chevrolet Workhorse P42, . . . and a total of $1, 532.85 for two Bank of America Accounts . . ., that were seized from Twyla Miles between the dates of March 12, 2015 and March 16, 2015.
T.C.A. § 39-11-708(b) provides in the forfeiture of proceeds of criminal activity as follows: In the event the owner or possessor of the property does not answer the ...

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