Attorney at Law
821 Witzel Avenue
Oshkosh, WI 54902
(920) 233-3300

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                                                                                The Case of the Taken Toyota

Seller was arrested on three counts of selling small amounts of marijuana for a total of $175.00 out of a brand new Toyota Corolla he was operating at the time his transactions took place in several public parking lots.  The prosecutors dropped all charges against him pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement a year after he was caught but six months after that -- the State started an action to seize and sell the Toyota and during the course of that procedure it was discovered that Seller had only a partial ownership interest in the car.  As it turns out, his Friend had put $20,000.00 of her money down on the vehicle with the expectation that Seller would pay her back when he could.  Seller himself had contributed $2,500.00 toward the purchase price from a car he had previously owned and had only paid $550.00 of the $20,000.00 he owed to Friend by the time the authorities towed the Corolla away to an impound lot.  Seller and Friend argued that it would be extremely unfair to deprive them of a $22,500.00 vehicle because $175.00 worth of marijuana had been sold from it -- particularly when Friend had absolutely no idea what Seller was doing with the car that she had so kindly purchased for him.  Although both of their names were on the title, Friend never drove the car, had no personal effects in it, did not pay for its insurance, upkeep, gas, oil, or repairs and virtually had nothing to do with the mobile pot dispensary except being owed the money from Seller and being a co-title holder.  Seller’s potential fines for each count of selling the marijuana was $10,000.00 and therefore the State argued that it would only be fair for the car to be forfeited as the result of his criminal activities.  What do you think?  Is it fair to take Friend’s $20,000.00 investment for the sins of the fellow she innocently befriended or is it simply the luck of the draw as to who she chose to be kind to and the Toyota should be allowed to go to auction with all proceeds belonging to the State of Wisconsin?     

                                                                             If you were the Judge: How would you decide?
Effective legal counsel since 1979.
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