Pubdate: Sat, 27 Feb 2016
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2016 The Tribune Co.
Author: Paul J. Marino


Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's recent published opposition to 
proposed legislation to curtail Florida's Contraband Forfeiture Act 
is right on target. Those of us who were in law enforcement in the 
1980s worked hard to amend the law in 1982 to allow an attorney 
representing an agency to file a forfeiture petition in circuit civil 
court. This has resulted in criminals not only paying their dues to 
society in criminal court, but also losing any instrument used to 
further the criminal activity in civil court procedures pursuant to 
the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. A win-win for local and state 
law enforcement.

President Obama recently directed the Department of Justice to stop 
releasing funds under the federal forfeiture equitable-sharing 
program of the fruits of a crime in joint federal-state 
investigations. Now the Florida Legislature is entertaining 
legislation that would have the same effect as the federal directive, 
making it more difficult for local and state law enforcement to 
continue to use this valuable resource.

Letting criminals retain the instruments of their crimes will only 
result in putting additional fiscal burdens on local taxpayers to 
fund public safety.

Paul J. Marino, Esq.

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