Evidence is handled differently from other property items. Evidence item(s) are handled carefully by deputies, packaged and labeled differently and tracked to maintain a "chain of custody" when handled, collected, stored, sent to the crime lab for analysis, or taken to court and presented.
Items held as evidence may only be released after any prosecution of the criminal case is completed (i.e. by dismissal, plea, trial, sentencing, or appeal period) AND after a "case disposition" is received from the District Attorney's office. The D.A.'s office must approve the release or return of all evidence used in a criminal case.
In some cases where the item is too large, or is essential to the owner's income, the D.A. may approve the release of the item with the understanding the owner will be responsible for producing the item for court proceedings. In some more serious cases, such as homicide, rape and assault with a deadly weapon etc., evidence may not ever be released.
Our Detectives and Evidence Technicians do not have information on case dispositions or other information about evidence until they receive a disposition form from the D.A.'s office.
If you need more information on the status of a criminal case, you should contact the Inyo County District Attorney's office at 760-878-0282 or 760-873-6657. Ask to speak to the Deputy D.A. handling the specific case. They can advise you about evidence return status.