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People v. Green

California Court of Appeal
22 Cal. Rptr. 3d 736 (2004)


In July 2000, a sheriff executed a search warrant against Douglas Green (defendant), seizing various types of motor vehicles, office equipment, and $10,900 in cash. Green was charged by the People (plaintiff) with grand theft, burglary, and forgery against three victims. In return for legal services, Green granted a $25,000 lien against the seized property to his attorney, Lawrence Buckley. Green also gave Buckley a promissory note in the amount of $80,000, secured by all of the seized property and its proceeds. Buckley filed a Notice of Lien against the property for $80,000 and a financing statement referencing the property and proceeds. However, Buckley could not perfect his interest in the cash or vehicles, because the money and title documents remained in the sheriff’s possession. Green was found guilty of all charges and ordered to pay $95,661.41 in restitution to the three victims. Thereafter, the seized property was sold at auction so that the proceeds could be applied to the restitution. The proceeds from the sale totaled $33,426.95. The People filed a motion requesting a hearing to determine the proper distribution of the proceeds. The trial court concluded that whether the seized property had actually been purchased with money stolen by Green was unclear, and that Buckley therefore did not have a perfected security interest in the cash or vehicles. Buckley appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Richli, J.)

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