British Columbia's civil forfeiture regime violates the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms by forcing individuals to produce
evidence against themselves and by resulting in penalties that are
grossly disproportionate, says a new constitutional challenge.
The case, which will proceed to trial in B.C. Supreme Court in
November, stems from a 2015 police search of a multi-million-dollar
home on Vancouver's west side that turned up hundreds of marijuana
plants. It is expected to be the second constitutional case involving
B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office heard this year; a case involving the
Hells Angels is scheduled for April.
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Northampton County's drug forfeiture program netted $132,000 last
year, the district attorney's office announced.
Northampton County's drug forfeiture program seized more than $132,000
in the past year, on par with other years despite heightened scrutiny
of the practice nationwide.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, the program brought in $122,000 in
cash, plus $9,900 from the sale of forfeited vehicles, District
Attorney John Morganelli announced.
The proceeds represented an increase from the $112,000 averaged in the
four previous years. But they were well short of the program's record
in fiscal 2011, when $283,000 was seized.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to steal from you.
Oh, he doesn't call it that. He calls it "civil forfeiture." But what
it is, is theft by law enforcement. Sessions should be ashamed. If I
were president, he'd be fired.
Under "civil forfeiture," law enforcement can take property from
people under the legal fiction that the property itself is guilty of a
crime. ("Legal fiction" sounds better than "lie," but in this case the
two terms are near synonyms.) It was originally sold as a tool for
going after the assets of drug kingpins, but nowadays it seems to be
used against a lot of ordinary Americans who just have things that law
enforcement wants. It's also a way for law enforcement agencies to
maintain off-budget slush funds, thus escaping scrutiny.
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department revived a widely criticized
practice on Wednesday that allows state and local law enforcement
officials to use federal law to seize the cash, cars or other personal
property of people suspected of crimes but not charged.
The department issued new guidance expanding the federal government's
use of so-called civil asset forfeiture, labeling it a necessary tool
to fight crime. But civil rights advocates say it can be abused by law
enforcement officials and deprive people who have done nothing wrong
of their right to due process, a charge that Rod J. Rosenstein, the
deputy attorney general, contested.
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Georgia law enforcement agencies lost access to millions of dollars in
potential funding when the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 all but
shut down a practice criticized as encouraging policing for profit.
Now state law enforcement leaders are welcoming U.S. Attorney General
Jeff Sessions' Wednesday announcement that the department is
reinstating "adoptive forfeiture." Effective immediately, the federal
government will help state and local police agencies keep cash or
other assets they have seized on suspicion of ties to state crimes.
Agencies can keep such property permanently even if no one is ever
New safeguards will help prevent abuses, the department said in a
directive to U.S. attorneys and other Justice Department officials
announcing the new policy.
Cash seized at Pearson airport from alleged marijuana
The attorney general is seeking a forfeiture order for almost $600,000
seized from the carry-on luggage of an alleged pot dispensary courier
waiting to board a flight to Vancouver at Pearson airport in January.
"There are reasonable grounds for the court to find that the property
that is the subject of this proceeding is the proceeds and/or
instrument of unlawful activity within the meaning of the Civil
Remedies Act," reads the notice of application filed in Superior Court
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America's sheriffs have given President Trump a woefully inaccurate
view of civil asset forfeiture-the process through which police seize,
and prosecutors literally sue, cash, cars and real estate that they
suspect may be connected to a crime. "People want to say we're taking
money and without due process. That's not true," a Kentucky sheriff
told the president last month at a White House meeting. Critics of
forfeiture, the sheriff added, simply "make up stories."
In fact, thousands of Americans have had their assets taken without
ever being charged with a crime, let alone convicted. Russ Caswell
almost lost his Massachusetts motel, which had been run by his family
for more than 50 years, because of 15 "drug-related incidents" there
from 1994-2008, a period through which he rented out nearly 200,000
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