Pubdate: Sun, 25 May 2003
Source: Selma Times-Journal, The (AL)
Copyright: 2003 Selma Newspapers Inc.
Author: Alan Riquelmy


Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Parke Keith sits at his desk 
while signing a number of motions of condemnation.

They pile up slowly one after the other before receptionist Ashley Kynard 
takes the completed forms to the circuit clerk's office. From there, Dallas 
County Sheriff's Department deputies will serve the official paperwork to 

"It's just a weapon that DA's use in fighting the drug war," Keith explained.

The weapon is the condemnations themselves. Motions of condemnation allow 
law enforcement authorities to claim cash, weapons and vehicles gained from 
drug sales.

Keith leafs through a couple of condemnations. One asks the court to 
condemn a vehicle and $1,600. Another asks for $978 and a weapon.

If defendants choose to contest the condemnation, the district attorney's 
office files a civil suit.

"The defendant has to defend it," Keith said of the suit, "but often they 

In that case, the district attorney's office wins by virtue of a default 

If Keith's office wins the suit, the condemned items go to the arresting 
agency. The district attorney's office receives a small percentage of any 
money that was confiscated or any money gained from the sale of a condemned 

In the case of the Selma Police Department, money gained from a 
condemnation is allocated to the department's narcotics division. Equipment 
and training for the department's K-9 unit are purchased with the funds.

According to Dallas County Chief Deputy Randy Pugh, when money is gained 
from an arrest, it's put in a bank account. Nothing more will happen to it 
until a judge tells Pugh's department what to do.

Vehicles are brought to either the Dallas County Jail or a secure site 
owned by a wrecker service.

Weapons are treated as money and placed in a vault at the department and 
sometimes used by deputies. In some cases, due to the state of the weapon, 
it's destroyed. A welding torch is used to cut the weapon in two before 
it's discarded.
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