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1 US PA: Norco Drug Forfeiture Program Netted $132k Last YearMon, 21 Aug 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Yates, Riley Area:Pennsylvania Lines:86 Added:08/25/2017

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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2US: Column: Forget Russia, Fire Sessions Over ForfeitureTue, 25 Jul 2017
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Reynolds, Glenn Harlan Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:07/25/2017

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.


3 US: Justice Dept. Revives A Policy On The Seizure Of AssetsThu, 20 Jul 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Ruiz, Rebecca R. Area:United States Lines:104 Added:07/20/2017

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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4US GA: Georgia Welcomes Forfeiture Rule ReinstatementThu, 20 Jul 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Ondieki, Anastaciah Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/20/2017

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 convicted.

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.


5 CN ON: Forfeiture Sought For Pot ProceedsMon, 10 Apr 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Powell, Betsy Area:Ontario Lines:102 Added:04/13/2017

Cash seized at Pearson airport from alleged marijuana courier

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 last month.

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6 US: OPED: Trump Should Be Appalled By Police Asset ForfeitureMon, 06 Mar 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:McGrath, Lee Area:United States Lines:108 Added:03/09/2017

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 rooms.

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7 US: Editorial: Jeff Sessions And Civil ForfeitureTue, 27 Dec 2016
Source:Wall Street Journal (US)          Area:United States Lines:65 Added:12/27/2016

The AG nominee should be asked about an abusive practice.

Democrats are wrong in most of their criticism of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General. But if they or fellow Republicans are looking for a legitimate area to probe, they should explore his views on governmenta€™s use of civil forfeiture.

The all-too-common practice allows law enforcement to take private property without due process and has become a cash cow for state and local police and prosecutors. Under a federal program called a€śequitable sharing,a€ť local law enforcement can team up with federal authorities to seize property in exchange for 80% of the proceeds.

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8 CN BC: Judge Rules Against Seizures By Civil Forfeiture OfficeFri, 16 Sep 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Dhillon, Sunny Area:British Columbia Lines:103 Added:09/17/2016

A judge has ruled that British Columbia's Civil Forfeiture Office cannot seize assets unless they are tied to unlawful activity, a decision that a lawyer in the case says is an important precedent.

The case began in November, 2015, when the forfeiture office began an attempt to seize property from several people charged in an RCMP investigation into a marijuana trafficking network one month earlier. The office - a government agency that has been criticized for its aggressive attempts to seize homes, vehicles and cash connected to criminal offences, even from people who have not been convicted or charged - named six of the men who were charged as defendants in the civil-forfeiture case.

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9 Philippines: Cops Executing Drug Assets - WitnessesTue, 23 Aug 2016
Source:Philippine Star (Philippines) Author:Romero, Paolo Area:Philippines Lines:169 Added:08/24/2016

The witnesses' narratives had a common thread: the victims were low-level drug pushers silenced by corrupt law enforcers who were either their protectors or suppliers in the illegal drug trade.

This emerged at the first Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings led by the committee on justice and human rights, chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, and the committee on public order and illegal drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told the joint hearing that as of yesterday, the PNP had tallied 712 suspects killed in legitimate operations, of whom 269 were reported in Metro Manila, since the Duterte administration launched its war on drugs on July 1.

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10US CA: Editorial: Forfeiting Civil Asset ForfeitureWed, 17 Aug 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA)          Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:08/17/2016

On Monday, the state Assembly approved a bill aimed at curbing abuses of civil asset forfeiture, a practice by which law enforcement may seize a person's property, cash and other assets without first achieving a criminal conviction.

If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate Bill 443, proposed last year by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Torrance, will require a criminal conviction before assets worth less than $40,000 can be seized.

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11US CA: Column: Don't Miss Chance to Reform Asset ForfeitureThu, 11 Aug 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Rodriguez, Sal Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:08/11/2016

At least one barrier to asset forfeiture reform has been cleared, as a compromise has been reached between law enforcement groups and state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.

Last year, California seemed set to join a growing number of states in reforming civil asset forfeiture, a means by which law enforcement agencies can seize a person's assets without first obtaining a criminal conviction.

As initially conceived, Senate Bill 443, bipartisan legislation authored by Sen. Mitchell and Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Torrance, would have required a criminal conviction before assets in excess of $25,000 could be seized, granted a right to counsel for the indigent and authorized attorney's fees for those who successfully appeal forfeiture cases, among other requirements.

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12US CA: Column: First They Take Your Assets, and Then They LetSun, 07 Aug 2016
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Saunders, Debra J. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:08/07/2016

Republican political consultant Mike Madrid isn't used to getting calls from the ACLU, and yet he has found himself working with the civil liberties group because some practices are so egregious that Republicans and Democrats should have no trouble finding common cause. The issue is civil asset forfeiture - also known as "policing for profit." The federal government can seize your property, and the only way you can get it back is to prove you are not guilty of a crime. California law prohibits local authorities from permanently seizing most property without a conviction, but there's a loophole in the law - called "equitable sharing." Local police can seize your property, hand jurisdiction over the feds, and get rewarded with up to 80 percent of the goodies even if prosecutors fail to convict - or even charge - an offender.

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13US CA: OPED: Seize Opportunity to Reform Civil Asset ForfeitureSun, 03 Jul 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Norquist, Grover Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:07/04/2016

It's a widely abused practice that was imposed on America by past state legislatures and the federal government. Civil asset forfeiture has been used to take innocent people's property for decades, and is perhaps better known as "legal plunder."

As such, there's nothing particularly "civil" about civil asset forfeiture, and a California state senator wants to do something about that in the Golden State.

In many states, under civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement can seize private property without a search warrant or an indictment, much less a conviction, based solely on suspicion that the property has been involved in, or is the ill-gotten gains of, criminal activity.

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14 CN BC: Forfeiture Office Abused Power, Suit SaysWed, 22 Jun 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Dhillon, Sunny Area:British Columbia Lines:93 Added:06/23/2016

A B.C. man who spent years fighting an attempt by the province's Civil Forfeiture Office to seize his home has launched a legal action of his own, accusing the government office of abusing its authority.

David Lloydsmith was at his home in Mission, B.C., in October, 2007, when an RCMP officer knocked on the door and said he was responding to a 911 call. Mr. Lloydsmith told the officer he was the only person at the home and had not called 911. The officer asked to enter the residence, a request Mr. Lloydsmith refused. But when he attempted to close the door, the officer barged in and restrained him, a judge later found. A subsequent search turned up marijuana plants, and Mr. Lloydsmith was arrested for production-related offences.

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15US NV: Editorial: Forfeiture ReformMon, 06 Jun 2016
Source:Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)          Area:Nevada Lines:Excerpt Added:06/06/2016

Police and prosecutors across the country have for years beaten back most serious efforts to reform civil forfeiture statutes, which allow law enforcement to seize property from people who have never been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime.

But signs abound that justice and due process may eventually prevail.

Civil forfeiture laws proliferated in the 1980s as part of the war on drugs and were intended to ensure that crime bosses didn't profit from their shadowy pursuits. But their aggressive application in many jurisdictions has also led to hundreds of high-profile abuses involving innocent people forced to surrender cash, homes, cars, jewelry and other valuables that the authorities merely suspected of being connected to a crime.

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16 US CA: PUB LTE: Hands Off AssetsSat, 07 May 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Ireland, Paul Area:California Lines:41 Added:05/07/2016

Let me thank the Register for the update on Senate Bill 443, to rein in the blatant legal theft from private citizens by law enforcement agencies participating in asset forfeiture programs. SB443 would have required a criminal conviction (rather than simply probable cause) prior to seizure of assets by law enforcement.

The need for reform is so obvious, and the misuse of the program is so egregious that one has to wonder if the Assembly members who voted against it even thought about what they were doing or were simply responding to the lobbying efforts of the California police chiefs and district attorneys associations to defeat the legislation. Defeat it so that they could use the funds for extra "stuff."

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17 US TX: PUB LTE: Abolish Civil Asset ForfeitureSun, 01 May 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:48 Added:05/02/2016

Re: =93Texas tops in use of civil asset forfeiture =AD And it's likely to get worse, Audrey Redford says,=94 Monday Viewpoints.

Thanks to Redford for her excellent column and to The News for continuing to call attention to the most corrupting influence in law enforcement =AD civil asset forfeiture.

The injustice of police taking property without due process has not gone unnoticed.

Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Prison Fellowship, has given a series of seminars on the subject. It says civil forfeiture endangers individual rights and the integrity of law enforcement.

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18US CA: Column: Forfeiting Asset ForfeitureFri, 29 Apr 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Rodriguez, Sal Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:04/29/2016

Law enforcement should not be allowed to seize a person's assets before there is a criminal conviction and a clearly established nexus between someone's assets and criminal activity.

This very simple set of premises is completely rejected under the system of civil asset forfeiture, a practice which allows law enforcement agencies to take a person's property or cash with minimal due process and without a criminal conviction ever taking place.

The practice incentivizes the allocation of law enforcement resources to crimes and strategies that maximize the potential for generating revenues that boost the budgets of local police and sheriff's departments.

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19US TX: Texas Tops In Use Of Civil Asset ForfeitureMon, 25 Apr 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/27/2016

In just over a decade, Texas law enforcement collected more than half a billion dollars, $540.7 million, in cash and personal property from Texans suspected of breaking the law. Known as civil asset forfeiture, this legal practice leaves average Texans vulnerable to having their assets seized by police, no trial or proof of guilt necessary.

Texas is among the worst states in the nation for civil asset forfeiture abuse. The Institute for Justice's "Policing for Profit" report gave Texas a D+ and said the state leads the nation in average annual forfeiture proceeds, at roughly $41.6 million.

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20 US IL: PUB LTE: Asset Forfeiture Is Worst Strategy of War onTue, 26 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Gierach, James E. Area:Illinois Lines:57 Added:04/26/2016

The Chicago Sun- Times editorial ["Law needs to rein in government seizures," April 19] supporting the reform of Illinois and federal forfeiture laws regarding drugs and suspected drug proceeds was spot- on correct, and former administrator of the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration Peter Bensinger's contrary opinion was dead wrong. ["Seize cartel assets best way to beat them," letter to the editor, April 22].

As the Chicago Sun- Times editorialized on June 22, 2010, "America's War on Drugs is over - we lost - and it's time to get real about our drug laws."

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