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Old 02-20-2019, 11:22 AM   #21
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Prosecutors are ignoring the Constitution and legal precedent in their zeal to punish the founders and former staff of Backpage, by seizing money and other assets that stem from protected speech and legal activity.
...
Since the defendants' arrests in April 2018, prosecutors "have created constant interference with the Defendants' ability to defend this case," states a January 2019 status report filed by their lawyers. "Virtually all of the Defendants' assets have been seized, virtually all of the money in their attorneys' trust accounts designated to fund the defense has been been seized or is effectively frozen," and defense lawyers "may expose themselves to criminal liability if they use those funds to pay fees" from the case.

Last week, the Cato Institute, DKT Liberty Project, and the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes Reason magazine) filed a brief in support of the defendants on this matter. The groups say they want "to amplify the danger that the government's use of civil forfeiture to seize the assets and proceeds of expressive material poses to free expression."
...
http://reason.com/blog/2019/02/20/us...-quelch-speech

~~~

SCOTUS ruled on Timbs vs. Indiana:
Quote :
Supreme Court Delivers Unanimous Victory for Asset Forfeiture Challenge

The Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive fines and fees applies to states as well, SCOTUS rules, opening a new way to challenge outlandish forfeitures.
...
http://reason.com/blog/2019/02/20/su...nimous-victory
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:06 PM   #22
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If they start getting their dick's knocked in the dirt over civil forfeiture, how long until you see a huge swing in the stance on recreational marijuana by L.E., govt's especially smaller local govt's who get half their budget or more from shit like that? They will start calling for de-criminalization of it with a hefty slap on the wrist if caught with less than an ounce. Bigger fines with minimal jail time for up to a pound, maybe even a Kilo. I'd wager states agencies might be inclined to push for legalization & taxation. They won't get to keep all those nice new cars they confiscate, but they'll still make their budgets.

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Old 02-21-2019, 02:32 PM   #23
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About time SCOTUS took a stand against this shit. States have been getting away with harvesting money off of people for far too long.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:35 PM   #24
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by PMBug View Post:
Ideally, this CAF gets neutered at the Federal level, but until that time, individual states are leading the way. Except, apparently, for Michigan...
Things can change...

Quote :
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Law enforcement could not permanently take ownership of cash and other property seized in drug cases unless certain conditions are met under measures that won final legislative passage Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the bipartisan bills that target civil asset forfeiture, a practice that critics say has been abused to fund police activities.

The legislation would prohibit assets taken in suspected drug crimes from being forfeited unless the defendant is convicted or the value of the money and property is more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband. A conviction or guilty plea would not be required in instances where no one claims an interest in the property, the owner allows the forfeiture, or a defendant has been charged but cannot be located or extradited back to Michigan.
...
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...an-legislature
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:01 PM   #26
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...
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills into law Thursday that significantly limit police's ability to forfeit property without first obtaining a criminal conviction. Michigan will join 11 other states that have passed laws requiring convictions before forfeitures in some or all cases—part of growing bipartisan concerns that civil forfeiture deprives property owners of due process and creates perverse incentives for the police.
...
https://reason.com/2019/05/10/michig...rimes-anymore/
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Old 07-22-2019, 11:42 AM   #27
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Every July, as the deadline arrives to either sign or veto bills in Hawaii, there seems to be a bit more suspense than one might expect when the same political party controls the Legislature and the governor’s office.

The good news is that Gov. David Ige is no rubber stamp for his fellow Democrats. The bad news is that some of his vetoes are ill-advised.

The latest example is his rejection of a measure to reform Hawaii’s civil asset forfeiture program. House Bill 748 passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously, and with good reason.

Last year a state audit found that the Attorney General’s Office, which administers the program, has failed to account for property obtained by forfeiture, inadequately managed program funds and failed to allocate some $2 million for drug prevention as required by law.

Even worse, the report showed that in more than a quarter of the cases in 2015, property was forfeited even though no one was ever even charged with a crime, much less convicted. In another 4% of cases, property was forfeited even though the underlying charge was dismissed.

HB 748 would’ve allowed law enforcement to still seize property. However, authorities would have needed to wait until there was a felony conviction of the owner before selling the property.

In 2015, Civil Beat reported that Hawaii authorities were seizing an average of $1.2 million in property every year, taking things like cars, boats, guns and even family homes.
...
More: https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/07/ig...akes-no-sense/
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:54 PM   #28
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It just got worse.

SCOTUS Rules Unanimously in Asset Forfeiture Challenge


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Old 11-11-2019, 07:21 AM   #29
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Hey 11C1P, The SCOTUS ruling on the 8th amendment application is old news. I posted about it up above (post #21). It was actually a good ruling as it essentially caps the monetary value of what LEOs can confiscate. CAF is still anathema and more needs to be done to completely neuter it though.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:40 AM   #30
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... "By gaming the system and denying property owners a 'win' in court," says Institute for Justice (I.J.) senior attorney Dan Alban, "federal prosecutors have found a way to short-circuit judicial oversight of their activities, while at the same time preserving their ability to continue to abuse Americans' property rights."

I.J. is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that takes aim at such sneaky tactics, arguing that an owner can "substantially prevail" in a forfeiture battle, as required by the CAFRA provision dealing with attorney fees, even if the government returns the property before it officially loses in court. "The threat of paying attorneys' fees is a critical check on government abuse," observes Justin Pearson, another I.J. senior attorney. "Otherwise, there is no disincentive to stop prosecutors from filing frivolous civil forfeitures against property belonging to innocent owners."

... "Seizing someone's property and forcing them to hire an attorney for two years to get it back has real costs," Pearson says. "The government can't take your property, keep it for years, and then suddenly give it back and pretend like nothing happened."

So far, of course, the government can do exactly that. The Supreme Court can put a stop to it by taking up this case.
https://reason.com/2019/11/21/with-t...when-they-win/
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:10 PM   #31
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yes wrongful seizure should allow for compensation for the loss and pay legal costs.

They compensate for wrongful imprisionment after all .....
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:26 PM   #32
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:37 PM   #33
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:46 AM   #34
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Here's the Reason post about the New Jersey reform:
Quote :
... New Jersey Senate passed a bill Monday by a 36-3 vote requiring a criminal conviction in certain cases before police and prosecutors can take property using civil forfeiture.

That same day, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a transparency bill into law that will require quarterly reporting by police departments detailing their forfeiture activities. ...
https://reason.com/2020/01/14/new-je...iture-reforms/

Here's the Institute for Justice press release on the $82K theft:

https://ij.org/press-release/pittsbu...-savings-back/
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:57 AM   #35
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It’s after midnight at mile marker 204 on westbound Interstate 70 near Foristell. St. Charles County police officers watch for suspicious cars. Once they identify a car, they begin to look for a minor traffic violation to justify a stop. “Failing to keep right” is a common one.

After pulling over and questioning the motorists, police take them to a nearby towing company, Superior Towing, just off the highway at 11 Elaine Drive in O’Fallon. There, often in the middle of the night, police begin to take apart the vehicle and interrogate the occupants. They are looking for large amounts of cash, signs of a drug connection and inconsistencies in the motorists’ stories.

When Fleck, a trained police dog, smells marijuana on wads of cash, the officers advise the suspects that the best way to avoid years in prison is to sign a legal waiver surrendering ownership of anything in the car, including the money. Many readily sign and are released on a traffic ticket. The money — often tens of thousands of dollars — goes into police department coffers.

“People are in awful situations,” said Justin Gelfand, a former federal prosecutor who has represented some of the people taken to Superior Towing. “These often are in very coercive, unusual environments, literally waiving their right to their cash in a towing lot in the middle of the night.

“Basically they are told we can take you to jail; you won’t see your family for years,” Gelfand said. “The coercive elements are shocking. … They don’t know their rights. … They are in unenviable situations, they are scary, they are intimidating ... this is literally highway robbery by law enforcement. The idea that law enforcement should somehow have the right to take things from people and keep them, that is insane.”
...
More: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post...-cash#stream/0
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:20 AM   #36
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:56 PM   #37
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Arizona Committee Passes Bill to End Civil Asset Forfeiture


"PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 13, 2020) – Today, an Arizona Senate committee unanimously passed a bill that would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking a person’s property without a criminal conviction in most situations. The proposed legislation would build on important reforms signed into law in 2017.

Sen. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Mesa) introduced Senate Bill 1556 (SB1556) on Feb. 4. The legislation would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to require a conviction before the prosecutors could begin forfeiture proceedings in most cases. The bill also includes provisions that would increase protections for property owners involved in the forfeiture process..

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB1556 with some technical amendments by a 7-0 vote.

An AZCIR analysis in 2017 found that Arizona agencies seized nearly $200 million in property between 2011 and 2015 from people who may never have been charged or convicted of a crime.

In 2017, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law that enacted modest reforms to the state’s forfeiture laws and closed a loophole that enabled prosecutors to circumvent state laws by passing cases off to the feds. SB1556 would build on the foundation set in that law and further reform the state’s asset forfeiture process.

In 2017, the legislature increased the evidentiary standard necessary for the state to win a forfeiture case. It also took a big step toward closing a loophole that allows state and local police to get around more strict state asset forfeiture laws in a vast majority of situations. This is particularly important in light of a policy directive issued in July 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Department of Justice (DOJ).

FEDERAL LOOPHOLE

A federal program known as “Equitable Sharing” allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government through a process known as adoption. The DOJ directive reiterates full support for the equitable sharing program
..."

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Old 03-04-2020, 08:34 AM   #38
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Feb 6:
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Police twice seized 50-year-old Detroit resident Melisa Ingram's car for alleged crimes she was never suspected of committing. In fact, no one was charged with a crime at all. Nevertheless, the local prosecutor demanded Ingram pay thousands of dollars to get her vehicle back, or else the county would keep it under civil asset forfeiture laws.

Ingram is now a lead plaintiff in a federal class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday against Wayne County, Michigan—which includes Detroit—by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm. The suit claims that the county seizes cars "simply because they are driven into, or out of, an area subjectively known for having some generalized association with crime," and that the county forces owners through a months-long, onerous process to challenge a seizure, violating their Fourth, Eighth, and 14th Amendment rights.
...
More: https://reason.com/2020/02/06/class-...eiture-racket/

Feb 20:
Quote :
Today, after illegally seizing and holding Robert Reeves’s 1991 Chevrolet Camaro for the last seven months, Detroit police agreed to return it along with $2,280 in cash they seized from him in July 2019. He picked up the car this morning.

The police’s sudden change of heart comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed earlier this month by the Institute for Justice (IJ) on behalf of Robert and others whose cars were illegally seized by Wayne County prosecutors using a controversial practice called civil forfeiture. The lawsuit challenges the county’s use of civil forfeiture to take vehicles—often from innocent owners like Robert—and hold them ransom until the owners pay exorbitant fines.

“It shouldn’t take a federal class action lawsuit for an innocent driver to get his car out of one of Detroit’s notorious impound lots,” said Wesley Hottot, a senior attorney at IJ. “The return of Robert’s property is too little, too late. Robert’s life was upended when he lost his car for seven months. Detroit’s car forfeiture program is fundamentally unconstitutional, and our lawsuit on behalf of Robert, Melisa Ingram and others victimized by the practice will proceed through the courts.”
...
https://ij.org/press-release/followi...il-forfeiture/

The Institute for Justice is doing a lot of heavy lifting on this issue.
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