Hamilton County District Attorney's Office to review case on sheriff releasing seized car

Hamilton County District Attorney's Office to review case on sheriff releasing seized car

January 19th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Marcia Tenenbaum's 1990 Lincoln Town Car was returned to her before the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office was ordered to seize it again.

Photo by Allison Love /Times Free Press.

The Hamilton County District Attorney's Office will review a case in which Sheriff Jim Hammond reportedly released a vehicle seized during a drug arrest without the state's permission.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation submitted its investigative files to the district attorney's office this week for review.

A 1990 Lincoln Town Car was seized on April 13 after a Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputy arrested the son of the car's owner, Marcia Tenenbaum. The car, along with marijuana and money, was confiscated during a traffic stop for an expired tag.

Tenenbaum said the sheriff authorized the release of the car to her after she called him within a few days of her son's arrest.

An order has to be issued by the state's Department of Safety and Homeland Security before a seized vehicle can be returned to an owner. The owner has to go through an appeal process to get their vehicle returned, which typically takes months.

Neal Pinkston, executive assistant district attorney, said the case has not been reviewed yet. He said it could be a couple of weeks before the review is completed.

Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for TBI, said the district attorney's office will determine whether to pursue charges.

"Sometimes they'll instruct us to go back and answer questions," she said.

Hammond initially denied releasing the car when contacted about the case.

The sheriff said he asked the state to look into the matter. An investigation was launched by TBI on Oct. 30 at the request of the district attorney's office.

Tenenbaum was denied reconsideration for her vehicle on Nov. 20. She has until Jan. 22 to file an appeal in Davidson County Chancery Court to get her car back.