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Articles Tagged with cash seizure

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annie-spratt-E9NE0qcq74k-unsplash-300x225The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) announced that they collected approximately $242,000,000 in criminal, civil, and assets forfeiture. In the figures provided by EDVA, 86% of the $242,000,000 are from civil forfeitures.

Virginia earned a D- for its civil forfeiture laws in a recent national review. Besides a low standard of proof, the burden of proving innocence heavily resides on the property owners in this state. The law enforcement agency is also allowed to retain 100% of the confiscated proceeds; 90% goes to the participating agency, and the remaining 10% is to the Department of Criminal Justice Service. Although the law intends to prevent possible crimes, this “policing for profit” aspect may distort the priorities of the police officers.

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photo-of-person-holding-black-pen-959816-300x200New Jersey has joined sixteen other states that are moving toward more transparency in the seizure of property in civil cases, especially if there is no conviction. Spearheaded by the Institute for Justice beginning in 2014, the End Forfeiture initiative was launched, which focuses on reforming or ending civil forfeiture laws nationwide.

 

Civil forfeiture allows cash, cars, homes, and other property suspected of involvement in criminal activity to be seized by the government. However, the property owner doesn’t have to be charged or convicted of a crime to lose that property permanently. Some say this gives law enforcement agencies an incentive to “police for profit,” seizing and keeping as much property as they can in order to fund these programs. This is where the Institute of Justice and the ACLU-NJ have stepped in. 

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