Washington Legal Roundup – Division I
Rodney Pearson grew marijuana at a barn on his property – lots of marijuana. A neighbor notified police, who executed a search warrant and discovered 78 plants, some of which were 13 feet tall.
The Snohomish County Regional Drug Task Force (SCRDT) seized the property and sought to sell it in a forfeiture proceeding. Rodney Pearson wrote a will, leaving the property to his kids. Rodney Pearson died. The kids sought to stop the forfeiture by asserting they were “innocent owners.”
The Court of Appeals held that because the forfeiture proceedings were pending at the time of Mr. Pearson’s death, he could not convey the property to his heirs. The Court relied on the old legal maxim that “a devisee can take no greater interest in the devised property than the devisor has to devise.” In other words, Mr. Pearson didn’t have his property to give because it was it the process of being taken by the SCRDT when he attempted to give it in his will.
It would be interesting to hear the rest of this story, since the opinion doesn’t really shed much light on why Mr. Pearson was growing all that pot or how he died…