[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Easton 7-9-2008 by Ord. No. 5109. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Peace and good order — See Ch. 410.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Engaging in sexual activity as a business; or loitering in or within view of any public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity; or promoting prostitution as defined in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5902(B), including but not limited to soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute, procuring a prostitute for a patron, transporting a person into or within this commonwealth with intent to promote the engaging in prostitution by that person, or procuring or paying for transportation with that intent, or soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any benefit for doing or agreeing to do anything forbidden under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5902; or patronizing prostitutes as defined in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5902.
- SEXUAL ACTIVITY
- Any act of masturbation, exhibition of genitals, sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality or physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or, if such person be a female, breast.
- If with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission one commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute an act of prostitution or sexual activity.
- Every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.
The use of any vehicle to solicit prostitution or to engage in an act of prostitution or to solicit or engage in sexual activity is declared a nuisance, and such use of the vehicle shall be enjoined and abated as provided in this chapter. Any person or his or her servant, agent, or employee who owns, leases, conducts, maintains, or uses any vehicle for any of the purposes or acts set forth in this section is guilty of a peace nuisance.
A vehicle used for any of the purposes set forth in § 565-2 of this chapter shall be declared a nuisance, and property shall be forfeited to the City of Easton subject to the provisions of this chapter. All right, title and interest in any vehicle shall vest in the City upon commission of the act giving rise to the nuisance under this chapter.
Vehicles subject to forfeiture under this chapter may be seized by any peace officer upon process issued by any court having jurisdiction over the vehicle. Seizure without process may be made.
Receipts for vehicles seized pursuant to this chapter shall be delivered to any person out of whose possession such a vehicle was seized if the seizure is incident to an arrest or search under the search warrant or if there is probable cause to believe that the property was used in violation of this chapter.
A vehicle seized pursuant to this chapter, where appropriate, may be held as evidence, pending fiscal disposition.
An investigation shall be made by the City of Easton as to any claimant to a vehicle whose right, title, interest or lien is of record in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The City Solicitor shall cause a notice of the seizure and of the intended forfeiture proceedings, as well as a notice stating that any interested party may file a verified claim with the City Solicitor, to be served by personal delivery or by registered mail upon all person(s) appearing to have an interest in the seized vehicle. Whenever notice is delivered pursuant to this section, it shall be accompanied by a claim form as described in § 565-8 of this chapter with directions for the filing and service of a claim.
All notices shall set forth the time within which a claim of interest in the vehicle seized or subject to forfeiture is required to be filed pursuant to § 565-8.
After a required notice is served herein, the City Solicitor shall file, as soon as practicable but not later than one year of the date of seizure of the property which is subject to forfeiture and, in the event a claim is properly filed pursuant to this chapter, then within 30 days of receipt of claim, a petition for forfeiture in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County.
The City of Easton shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the seized vehicle was used as set forth in § 565-2.
The hearing shall be before the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County.
A hearing on the forfeiture petition proceeding shall be scheduled before the Court not less than 30 days from the date of service of the petition on all claimants, if any.
In proceedings under this chapter, there shall be no joinder of actions, coordination of actions, except for forfeiture proceedings, or cross complaints, and the issues shall be limited strictly to the questions related to this chapter.
Any person claiming an interest in the vehicle seized pursuant to this chapter, at any time within 10 days from the date of the notice of seizure, must file with the City Solicitor a verified claim, stating his or her interest in the vehicle.
Where a vehicle is seized pursuant to this chapter or forfeited to the City and there is no bona fide innocent purchaser of the vehicle, conditional sales vendor or mortgage or lien holder, the City at its option may retain the vehicle or sell the vehicle and retain the proceeds.
Where a vehicle is seized pursuant to this chapter or forfeited to the City and there is a bona fide innocent purchaser, conditional sales vendor or mortgage or lien holder, the vehicle shall be sold and the proceeds distributed as follows:
To the City of Easton for all expenditures made or incurred by it in connection with the publication of the notices required herein and the sale of the vehicle, including expenditures for any necessary repairs, storage or transportation of any vehicle seized under this chapter.
To the bona fide or innocent purchaser, conditional sales vendor, mortgage or lien holder of the property, if any, up to the amount of his or her interest in the property, when the City Solicitor or Court declaring the forfeiture orders a distribution to that person.
The remaining funds shall be distributed to the City of Easton.
This chapter shall not limit the authority of the City of Easton to pursue any and all other remedies and relief that may be available to it in law or in equity under the laws applicable in any case.