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.
[continues 453 words]
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.
[continues 694 words]
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
[continues 533 words]
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
[continues 725 words]
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.
[continues 395 words]
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
[continues 580 words]
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.
[continues 1018 words]
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.
[continues 358 words]
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
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.
[continues 495 words]
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.
[continues 774 words]
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.
[continues 629 words]
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.
[continues 569 words]
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.
[continues 333 words]
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."
[continues 114 words]
Re: =93Texas tops in use of civil asset forfeiture
=AD And it's likely to get worse, Audrey Redford says,=94 Monday
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.
[continues 108 words]
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.
[continues 565 words]
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.
[continues 503 words]
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
[continues 288 words]