MALCOLM N. PETERSON, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Volusia County, Raul A. Zambrano,
S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Edward J. Weiss, Assistant
Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Rebecca Rock
McGuigan, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for
Peterson appeals the circuit court's order summarily
denying his motion for return of personal property. This is
the second time we have addressed his motion. We affirm in
part and reverse in part. We again reverse because the trial
court erred by denying the motion without either conducting
an evidentiary hearing or attaching portions of the record
refuting Peterson's motion.
last opinion, we outlined this matter's background:
While executing a search warrant at Peterson's residence,
law enforcement seized various contraband and drug
paraphernalia. In addition to these items, law enforcement
seized $187.00 in cash from Peterson as well as a black
wallet containing his Florida driver license and $2, 565.00
in cash. The State charged Peterson with four drug-related
offenses; but, the charges were ultimately nolle prossed.
Peterson then filed a motion seeking the return of his cash,
wallet, and driver license. After receiving a response from
the State, the circuit court summarily denied the motion.
Peterson v. State, 249 So.3d 1264, 1264-65 (Fla. 5th
remand, the trial court conducted a hearing on Peterson's
motion. It heard argument from the State and Peterson; it did
not receive any testimony or evidence. The State argued the
currency had been the subject of a valid civil forfeiture
proceeding, and Peterson's request for its return was
therefore impossible in the criminal case. It further
contended that it did not wish to return Peterson's
wallet and license because they might be required as evidence
in a separate criminal proceeding. The State explained that
even though this case had been nolle prossed, Peterson had
two felony drug convictions. In one of those cases, the State
had introduced photographs of the wallet and license, and it
might prefer to use the actual items if the case required
trial court again summarily denied Peterson's motion. Its
order attached copies of the forfeiture judgment and the
exhibit list in Peterson's other criminal case. The
exhibit list referenced pictures of Peterson's license
and wallet. Peterson does not contest the trial court's
ruling on the forfeited currency. He argues, however, that
the trial court erred by not conducting an evidentiary
hearing on the wallet and license, and the exhibit list does
not conclusively refute his motion. We agree.
review of a summary denial of a motion to return property is
de novo. Id. at 1265 (citations omitted). The
framework for a trial court's evaluation of these motions
is akin to postconviction relief. Id. We have
already concluded Peterson filed a facially sufficient motion
for the return of his license and wallet, and we directed the
trial court to either conduct an evidentiary hearing or
attach record evidence conclusively refuting Peterson's
trial court did not conduct an evidentiary hearing. Rather,
it attached an exhibit list from another case that referenced
pictures of the wallet and license. It accepted the
State's unsworn and unsupported assertion that the other
case might require retrial. It did not, however, base this
decision on evidence, and the exhibit list does not refute
Peterson's facially sufficient motion. See Scott v.
State, 922 So.2d 1024, 1027 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006)
("The requirement for an evidentiary hearing was not
satisfied by the court's reliance on state attorneys'
statements . . . ."). The State did not know the status
of Peterson's other case, and it did not know if any
postconviction proceedings were pending therein. While there
might be a legitimate reason ...