Civil asset forfeiture laws vary by state, so depending on where you live, you might not need to worry about it at all. However, with federal laws possibly becoming more far-reaching and strict in the near future, it’s good to know what you’re up against. To start the new year, here are a some facts about civil asset forfeiture that might be surprising to you.
State Representative Joy San Buenaventura is taking on civil asset forfeiture laws in Hawaii. Buenaventura has been waiting nearly two years for the audit, which will help legislators move forward on possible changes to the state’s laws.
Hawaii has one of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the nation, according to the Institute for Justice, a non-profit libertarian, civil liberties, and public interest law firm that often takes on high-profile cases pro-bono.
One of President Donald Trump’s often-cited campaign promises during last year’s election was the need to increase security at the border. So far in 2017, he seems to be delivering on that promise in one of the larger expenditures in his administration.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been mandated to hire an additional 5,000 agents to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border. CBP currently has over 60,000 employees who are responsible for screening cargo and individuals at U.S. borders, and seizes nearly 6 tons of illicit drugs per day.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide rake in a considerable amount of money and property every year under civil forfeiture laws, depending on each state’s laws. Such laws are widely criticized, however, and are often targets of criticism for citizens and politicians alike. Police in Wisconsin have come under criticism recently for some potentially questionable civil asset forfeiture practices.
What would have been a simple traffic stop in Wyoming turned into a nightmare as a Wisconsin man lost his entire life savings to asset forfeiture.
The man, Phil Parhamovich, was pulled over earlier in March of this year for a lane deviation and failure to use his seatbelt. After the stop was over, Parhamovich was down nearly $92,000. Many months later, he has won the money back in court.