Tag Archive: Policing For Profit


Iowa Forfeiture: A ‘System Of Legal Thievery’?

 

 

 

 

 

The plan: Hitch a ride with a family friend to California, visit relatives and check out community colleges there.

  Sanchez-Ratliff, then 20, did something that in hindsight wasn’t the best idea, but isn’t illegal. He took with him his entire life savings, including about $14,000 provided by his grandmother and an additional $5,000 he had saved from working.”

 

 

 

” The much-anticipated trip took an unexpected turn about eight hours in, as flashing lights appeared in the rear-view mirror. A Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputy stopped the vehicle for traveling 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.

  An hour later, the deputy seized Sanchez-Ratliff’s cash. Despite a clean criminal record and a search that turned up no sign of drugs or other illegal activity, the deputy concluded the money must somehow be linked to a crime.

  Sanchez-Ratliff is hardly alone.”

 

 

The Register continues …

 

 

” A Des Moines Register investigation into the use of state and federal civil forfeiture laws in Iowa reveals that thousands of people have surrendered their cash or property since 2009. The system is stacked against property owners while raising millions of dollars annually for law enforcement agencies across the state, something critics contend encourages policing for profit over promoting public safety.

  The bulk of forfeitures reviewed by the Register resulted from traffic stops, often for minor violations and involving vehicles with out-of-state plates. But cash or property also was seized after police were called or sent to homes or businesses. In a few cases, police seized cash carried by johns caught up in prostitution stings.

  Among the Register’s findings:

• Law enforcement agencies in all but seven of Iowa’s 99 counties have used the state’s civil forfeiture law since 2009. They have seized cash or other property 5,265 times. At least 542 more cases have used federal forfeiture laws.

• Many of those property owners — including Sanchez-Ratliff — are sent on their way after surrendering their cash or other property. A sampling of about 600 forfeiture cases from the Iowa counties that seized the most property over the past six years revealed dozens of instances with no record of an arrest or criminal charges.

• Iowa police departments and other law enforcement agencies have seized nearly $43 million over the past six years — money divided among agencies involved in each forfeiture case. Under law, the money is supposed to be used to “enhance” their crime-fighting capabilities.

• Most of the money is used to buy equipment, train officers and fund multiagency task forces. But it also has been spent on tropical fish, scented candles, mulch and other items that appear to have little or no direct link to law enforcement activities.

  Local law enforcement agencies generally keep 90 percent of forfeited cash, split among the agencies that seized the property. The rest goes to the state, for use by the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the state’s public safety departments.”

 

 

    The Des Moines Register offers a serious investigation into the blatantly unconstitutional process of stripping law abiding citizens of their money and possessions without due process , otherwise known as “civil” asset forfeiture . Read the whole thing and remember this is not an issue limited to Iowa , your state is doing it too .

Civil asset forfeiture reform now . Every “war” results in a loss of freedoms but none so much as the “war on drugs” .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Police Revenue Streams Are More Outrageous Than Others

 

 

 

 

 

” There has been a lot of news out of Ferguson lately.

  You had the release of the Justice Department report that, while clearing officer Wilson and debunking “Hands up don’t shoot,” hit the police department for racial practices which led to protests, resignations, the shooting of two police officers and, last  weekend, the arrest of Jeffrey Williams, the shooter.

  But in all the news coverage, protests, and resulting spin, there is one aspect of this story that, for several reasons, is worthy of a lot more attention before it’s forgotten:  the outrageous use of policing as a city revenue stream.

 

   From the report:

  The City’s emphasis on revenue generation has a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement.  Patrol assignment an schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation.

 

  This practice sets up a perverse reward system if you are a cop, the report explained:

  Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity” meaning the number of citations issued.

 

  And the courts aren’t helping either:

  The municipal court does not act as a neutral arbiter of the law or a check on unlawful police conduct.  Instead the court primarily uses its judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the City’s financial interests.

 

  This is not a new issue to some. Rand Paul,for example, has talked about it for a while, most recently at Bowe state university in Maryland: “

 

Read more from DaTechGuy at Watchdog.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man Acquitted Of Crime, Cops Still Take His Cash

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Iowa State troopers can keep more than $30,000 in cash taken during a traffic stop, even though the owner was found not guilty, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled last week.

  In June 2012, Robert Pardee was riding in a car through Powesheik County, Iowa on I-80, when an Iowa State trooper pulled the driver over for a non-working taillight and tailgating. During the stop, state troopers found “a small amount of marijuana” and $33,100 in cash. Pardee was arrested and charged with possessing cannabis. In Iowa, first-time offenders can face up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.

  One year later, a district court found him not guilty. As the criminal case proceeded against Pardee, the state also filed a civil forfeiture case against his seized cash. Despite his acquittal, first the district court and then the Iowa Court of Appeals ordered Pardee to forfeit his cash to the state.

  Unlike criminal forfeiture, which does require a conviction to take the ill-gotten gains from criminals, civil forfeiture lets law enforcement seize and keep property from people without a criminal conviction, or even without filing charges.

  Since civil forfeiture cases proceed in civil court, the state has to meet a far lower burden of proof to win. While criminal cases require proving “beyond a reasonable doubt,” for civil forfeiture in Iowa, the government need only show by a “preponderance of the evidence,” or “more likely than not,” that property was used to help facilitate a crime or are the proceeds of crime.”

 

 

    Could anything possibly be more unAmerican than “civil” asset forfeiture ? It is nothing more that legalized theft and constitutes an arbitrary abuse of power , totally ignores the rule of law and demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are well on our way to tyranny . The Founders must be rolling in their graves .

Surely this case deserves to be taken all the way to the Supreme Court … Read the rest at Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Video 2.12.15

John Stossel – Civil Asset Forfeiture

 

 

 

 

Published on Feb 9, 2015

” Attorney Jeff Rowes (Institute for Justice) explains how incentives drive police toward a predatory view of citizens. http://www.LibertyPen.com “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Police No Longer Work For You

 

 

 

 

 

 

” To the casual observer it appears that Virginia is run by violent psychopaths. That’s the takeaway from the recent report of an anti-poker SWAT team raid in Fairfax County, in which eight assault rifle-sporting police officers moved against ten card-playing civilians. The police possibly seized more than $200,000 from the game, of which 40 percent they eventually kept.

  There was no indication that any of the players was armed. As a matter of fact, it appears that a gambler is more likely to be shot without provocation by the Fairfax Police than the other way around. The heavy firepower at the Fairfax raid was apparently motivated by the fact that “at times, illegal weapons are present” at such poker games, and that “Asian gangs” have allegedly targeted such events in the past. This is, then, a novel approach to law enforcement: as a matter of policy, Fairfax police now attempt to rob and steal from people before street gangs get around to doing it.

  It is a mystery why we put up with this obscene police behavior. Gambling itself is not illegal in Virginia; it is simply controlled by the state. So the Fairfax police department did not bust these hapless poker players with guns drawn for doing something truly immoral and fully outlawed, merely for doing something in a way not approved by the state legislature. Were gambling actually forbidden in Virginia, then a crackdown could at least be understood, if not condoned in so paramilitary a fashion. Yet Virginia’s stance on the matter is not to treat gambling as malum in se, but rather as an instrumentum regni: our government prefers to funnel gambling money into its own coffers for its own ends, outlaw the same thing when it’s done outside of the state’s jurisdiction, and then steal the money of the poor fellows who happen to get caught. “

 

 

    Civil asset forfeiture , or policing for profit , is one of the defining issues of our day and along with No-Knock raids have eroded our liberties in ways the Founders never dreamed possible .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC Police Department Budgets Its Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Years In Advance

 

 

 

 

” Asset forfeiture may be the greatest scam perpetuated on the American people by their government — and it’s all legal. For the most part, assets seized translate directly to monetary or physical gains for the agencies doing the seizing, an act often wholly separated from any American ideals of due process.

  The New York Times recently obtained recording of asset forfeiture conferences which showed prosecutors advising cops on how to best exploit these programs to obtain additional funds and goods for their respective law enforcement agencies. In short, it appears that many agencies use asset forfeiture to fill departmental shopping lists, rather than as the criminal syndicate-crippling action it was intended to be.

  The Washington Post has been digging into the oft-abused programs for the last six weeks. The latest article in this series comes to similar conclusions about how the programs are viewed by law enforcement agencies.

  D.C. police have made plans for millions of dollars in anticipated proceeds from future civil seizures of cash and property, even though federal guidelines say “agencies may not commit” to such spending in advance, documents show.

  The city’s proposed budget and financial plan for fiscal 2015 includes about $2.7 million for the District police department’s “special purpose fund” through 2018. The fund covers payments for informants and rewards. “

TechDirt has more on this grand scheme of legalized theft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee DA Restricts Use Of Civil Forfeiture Laws

 

 

Tennessee Asset Forfeiture Reform

 

 

 

” An agency at the center of NewsChannel 5’s “Policing for Profit” investigation has severely restricted the use of civil forfeiture laws that had been used to seize cash from drivers passing through Tennessee.

  Instead, the new boss of the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force said he wants officers to re-emphasize their primary mission of looking for drugs.

  For more than three years, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has shined the light on laws that let police take cash from drivers without charging them with a crime.

  Critics called it “highway robbery.”

I don’t want the public to believe that we are out there trying to just take money from innocent people,” said District Attorney General Ray Crouch. “That is not what we are going to do. I am not going to be part of that.

  It marks the first time that a Tennessee district attorney has publicly rejected the broad use of the civil forfeiture laws that have drawn national attention. For the past several years, the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference has lobbied lawmakers to preserve that source of money.

” I want the public to know that they do not have to be in fear of the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force seizing their personal property, their cash, their assets,” Crouch toldNewsChannel 5 Investigates. “

 

More at JRN.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Boasts Having Seized $904 Million Through Asset Forfeitures In 2013 Alone

 

 

 

” Civil asset forfeiture is a controversial policy in which the government seizes private property that it believes was either gained through the commission of a crime or used to commit one. However, the items being seized sometimes belong to someone who was never accused of a crime at all or people who later turn out to be completely innocent. Since a civil process is used to seize the items in question, individuals facing the loss of property do so without the benefit of the level of due process that would ordinarily be afforded a criminal defendant.

  The Washington Post notes that, under President Obama, civil asset forfeitures have doubled. Now, as Eric Holder steps aside as US Attorney General, his potential replacement, nominee and US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch, recently announced that her office seized over $904 million in asset forfeitures in 2013 alone.

  According to a quote from The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, “As a prosecutor Ms. Lynch has also been aggressive in pursuing civil asset forfeiture, which has become a form of policing for profit. She recently announced that her office had collected more than $904 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal 2013, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.” The editorial calls for senators to ask questions in an effort to clarify Lynch’s views on the controversial policy. “

 

Ben Swann has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Asset Forfeiture Allows Cops To Steal From Citizens

 

 

 

 

” It probably seemed like a bright idea at the time: Let the police seize the ill-gotten gains of alleged drug dealers and other suspected criminals and sell it, using the proceeds to buy much-needed crime-fighting gear.

  Unfortunately, the process—civil asset forfeiture—did not require convicting anybody of a crime. In fact, it didn’t even require charging anybody with a crime. Not surprisingly, this led to rampant abuse, which has been abundantly documented for many years. Various reform efforts, including a 2000 federal law, have been unable to stop what’s become known as policing for profit.

  But Virginia lawmaker Mark Cole is going to give it another shot. That’s as good a sign as any that civil asset forfeiture has jumped the shark. “

 

 

  We wish Mr Cole good luck . Legalized theft , aka civil asset forfeiture , is an abuse that is completely incompatible with the spirit of America as well as being blatantly unconstitutional .

 

Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 For The Record: “Seized”

 

 

Published on Sep 29, 2014

” A little known law that allows the IRS and law enforcement to empty bank accounts and seize personal property without warning or proof of a crime.

  Could you be their next target? Find on Wednesday’s episode of For the Record at 8PM ET.

  Watch full episodes of For The Record on demand with a subscription to TheBlaze TV:http://theblaze.com/fortherecord “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s The Internet’s Response To ‘Thank A Police Officer Day’

 

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” One thing you can say about 2014: it’s been a bad year to wear a badge. People around the world are fed up with abusive, militarized police—as a new memo to St. Louis police about a class designed to help officers “win the media” after shooting someone makes perfectly clear.

  Public ire spilled over once again yesterday, with the 17th annual “Thank a Police Officer Day” going about as well as the #MyNYPD hashtag campaign did back in April. The observance, conceived and promoted under the banner of lawyer Andrew M. Hale’s Whole Truth Project, is meant to further that group’s aim of combating negative assumptions about cops. 

 Instead, social media users took the opportunity to reinforce those unflattering stereotypes.

Story continues

Government Self-Interest Corrupted A Crime-Fighting Tool Into An Evil

 

 

” Last week, The Post published a series of in-depth articles about the abuses spawned by the law enforcement practice known as civil asset forfeiture. As two people who were heavily involved in the creation of the asset forfeiture initiative at the Justice Department in the 1980s, we find it particularly painful to watch as the heavy hand of government goes amok. The program began with good intentions but now, having failed in both purpose and execution, it should be abolished.

  Asset forfeiture was conceived as a way to cut into the profit motive that fueled rampant drug trafficking by cartels and other criminal enterprises, in order to fight the social evils of drug dealing and abuse. Over time, however, the tactic has turned into an evil itself, with the corruption it engendered among government and law enforcement coming to clearly outweigh any benefits.

  Then, in 1986, the concept was expanded to include not only cash earned illegally but also purchases or investments made with that money, creating a whole scheme of new crimes that could be prosecuted as “money laundering.” The property eligible for seizure was further expanded to include “instrumentalities” in the trafficking of drugs, such as cars or even jewelry. Eventually, more than 200 crimes beyond drugs came to be included in the forfeiture scheme.

  The Asset Forfeiture Reform Act was enacted in 2000 to rein in abuses, but virtually nothing has changed. This is because civil forfeiture is fundamentally at odds with our judicial system and notions of fairness. It is unreformable.

 Civil asset forfeiture and money-laundering laws are gross perversions of the status of government amid a free citizenry. The individual is the font of sovereignty in our constitutional republic, and it is unacceptable that a citizen should have to “prove” anything to the government. If the government has probable cause of a violation of law, then let a warrant be issued. And if the government has proof beyond a reasonable doubt of guilt, let that guilt be proclaimed by 12 peers.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Shakedown: Police Won’t Charge You, But They’ll Grab Your Money

 

 

 

 

 

 

” On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that “there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States.” Nonetheless, it adds, banking in the U.S. can be difficult for non-residents, so Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash.

That last bit is excellent advice, but for an entirely different reason than the one Ottawa cites.

There’s a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform.

  Across America, law enforcement officers — from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters — are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public’s cash as they can; “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer. “

  It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offense is irrelevant.

  Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.

What he’s really looking for, though, is money.

‘Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse. In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.’

  And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented to the search, and you’re carrying any significant amount of cash, you are now likely to lose it.

  The officer will probably produce a waiver, saying that if you just sign over the money then the whole matter will just disappear, and you’ll be able to go on your way.

  Refuse to sign it, and he may take the cash anyway, proclaiming it the probable proceeds of drugs or some other crime.

  Either way, you almost certainly won’t be charged with anything; the objective is to take your money, not burden the system.

  You’ll have the right to seek its return in court, but of course that will mean big lawyer’s fees, and legally documenting exactly where the money came from. You will need to prove you are not a drug dealer or a terrorist.

  It might take a year or two. And several trips back to the jurisdiction where you were pulled over. Sorry.

  In places like Tijuana, police don’t make any pretense about this sort of thing. Here in the U.S., though, it’s dressed up in terms like “interdiction and forfeiture,” or “the equitable sharing program.

  Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse.

  In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.

  Seizing suspected drug money has been legal here for decades, but after 9/11 police acquired a whole new set of powers and justifications. And they set about using them for profit.

The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants. The total haul: $2.5 billion.

  As the Canadian government notes, there is no law against carrying it here or any legal limit on how much you can carry. But  if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM. “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinney Police Knew Of Patrol Car Radar Anomalies, Kept Giving Tickets

 

 

Faulty Radars

 

 

” The McKinney Police Department is checking out its entire vehicle fleet after a former officer and News 8 started asking questions about erroneous readings from its car-mounted Stalker radars.

“ I was told, ‘Let’s not make any noise about this, we’ll get it fixed at some point,’” said Aaron Smith, a former fleet operations manager for the McKinney police.

  Radars have been used for years and it was officer Aaron Smith’s job to keep those radars in check at the department. Smith said he started to see some irregularities in radar readings after he drove the patrol units starting in June of 2013.

“ I started noticing these anomalies where target speeds would be completely out of the norm,” Smith said. He noticed that the radars would show a target driver going 65 miles per hour, when they were going closer to 45 miles per hour.

  McKinney Assistant Police Chief Joe Ellenburg is aware of Smith’s concerns and said it was a concern that was addressed internally.”

 

Read on

HT/FreeThoughtProject

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa Cops Seize Almost $ 50,000 From A Couple , Didn’t Charge Them With A Crime

 

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” A Minnesota couple is suing the Iowa City Police Department to return almost $50,000, arguing police wrongfully seized that cash. Kearnice Overton was driving with his four kids on I-80 when Iowa City police pulled him over for speeding. Police brought a K-9 unit and based on the dog giving a “silent indicator on the vehicle,” police searched Overton’s car. They found $48,000.

   Drug sniffing dogs can have a very high false positive rate, i.e., they alert even when there are no drugs. Yet as the Institute for Justice demonstrated in an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court, “There are countless examples of police seizing large sums of cash based on nothing more than a positive dog alert.” Plus, in Iowa, law enforcement can keep 100 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property, creating an immense incentive to police for profit.”

 

Institute For Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Stossel – Policing For Profit

 

 

 

 

” Eapen Thampy (Americans for Forfeiture Reform) joins John to discuss a form of legalized theft called civil asset forfeiture.

Via Wikipedia

  There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Approximately half of all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil, although many of those are filed in parallel to a related criminal case.

  In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant.

  The burden is on the Government to establish that the property is subject to forfeiture by a “preponderance of the evidence.” If it is successful, the owner may yet prevail by establishing an “innocent owner” defense.”

Continued

A Driver Had $50,000 Seized By A Nevada Cop, But Wasn’t Charged With A Crime. Now He’s Getting His Money Back

 

 

 

 

” After Tan Nguyen was pulled over for driving three miles above the speed limit, he had $50,000 confiscated by a Nevada deputy.  According to Nguyen, that money was casino winnings.  As reported last week at Forbes, Nguyen“was not arrested or charged with a crime—not even a traffic citation.”

  He filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing his civil rights were violated by an “unconstitutional search and seizure.”  In that lawsuit, Nguyen claimed Deputy Lee Dove, who had pulled him over for speeding, threatened to seize and tow his car unless he “got in his car and drove off and forgot this ever happened.”

  But in a settlement reached last week with Humboldt County, Nevada, Nguyen was fully reimbursed for all of the cash that was taken from him.  He also received $10,000 to cover attorney’s fees.  In addition, the settlement fully reimbursed $2,400 to Matt Lee, who, like Nguyen, was pulled over and had his cash confiscated by Dove on I-80.  Lee slammed that seizure as “highway robbery.” 

  The settlement is certainly great news for Nguyen and Lee.  As the Institute for Justice noted previously, victories in civil forfeiture cases are rather rare, partially because “many victims of civil forfeiture simply don’t have the resources to defend themselves in court.  Since litigation can cost more than the property that was taken, many seizures aren’t even contested.”  When wins do happen, they can make national headlines, as did IJ’s successful defense of property owners in MassachusettsCalifornia and Michigan.”

 

 

   It’s a step in the right direction , but as the article notes , it’s a victory for those two men only right now as the law remains in place .

 

 

” Yet the settlement for Nguyen and Lee does not affect Nevada’s abysmal civil forfeiture laws.  The state’s current system allows police to “seize property under a legal standard lower than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard used in criminal convictions.  Owners bear the burden of proof, meaning they have to prove their innocence in court.  In addition, law enforcement agencies keep 100 percent of the forfeiture proceeds.”  No wonder Nevada earned a D+ in IJ’s report, “Policing for Profit.” “

 

 

Read the whole thing at Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

How The NYPD’s Use Of Civil Forfeiture Robs Innocent New Yorkers

 

 

” In the middle of the night in March of 2012, NYPD officers burst into the Bronx home of Gerald Bryan, ransacking his belongings, tearing out light fixtures, punching through walls, and confiscating $4,800 in cash. Bryan, 42, was taken into custody on suspected felony drug distribution, as the police continued their warrantless search. Over a year later, Bryan’s case was dropped. When he went to retrieve his $4,800, he was told it was too late: the money had been deposited into the NYPD’s pension fund. Bryan found himself trapped in the NYPD’s labyrinthine civil forfeiture procedure, a policy based on a 133-year-old law which robs poor New Yorkers of millions of dollars every year; a law that has been ruled unconstitutional twice.”

 

 

 

 

” ” They do this all the time, to so many people I know,” Bryan, a bartender of 21 years, told us in the office of the Bronx Defenders. Before the raid, he had planned on using the cash to take his girlfriend on a cruise. “A lot of people, when they get arrested, they know that their money is just gone, and they know that the police are taking it to enrich themselves.”

  Civil forfeiture, the act by which a municipality can seize money during an arrest, has always been a controversial weapon of law enforcement. The practice became more prevalent in the 1980s, when jurisdictions around the country began pursuing cases involving money in both civil and criminal court in an effort to fight organized crime and deprive criminals of their income, even if they couldn’t imprison them.

  This summer The New Yorker published a sprawling investigation on how cities use the practice to bolster their cash-strapped coffers by seizing the assets of the poor, often on trumped up charges.”

 

 

 

” The same is true in New York City, where the civil forfeiture process has long been used by the NYPD to seize money from those least likely to be able to get it back.

” It’s very difficult for the victims of , most of whom are from a lower socio-economic class, to do anything in the court system, much less win a civil forfeiture case,” said attorney David B. Smith, the nation’s leading expert on forfeiture law.”

 

 

 

 

” Any arrest in New York City can trigger a civil forfeiture case if money or property is found on or near a defendant, regardless of the reasons surrounding the arrest or its final disposition. In the past ten years, the NYPD has escalated the amount of civil forfeiture actions it pursues as public defense offices have been stretched thin by the huge amount of criminal cases across the city. 

One of the main problems with civil forfeiture is that you’re not assigned a lawyer, it being a civil and not a criminal case,” Smith explains. “Most people can’t afford lawyers, and that gives the government a tremendous advantage.” “

 

Legalized theft , pure and simple .