Articles Tagged with Civil Asset Forfeiture

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In 2016, police in New Hampshire stopped a car for speeding and tailgating. They seized the $46,000 in cash they discovered inside. More than 18 months after it was taken, a man claiming to be the rightful owner of the money is petitioning to have it returned to him.

On October 3, 2016, state troopers pulled over a red Hyundai registered in Massachusetts. The police report stated that the driver, Alexander Temple, had shaking hands and looked nervous. Temple gave permission for the trooper to examine his car. In the trunk, the officer found the $46,000 in 20-dollar bills neatly wrapped up inside a Whole Foods bag.
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In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized $58,000 from an Ohio man. They have not returned the money, nor have they charged him with a crime.

Rustem Kazazi and his family are originally from Albania in southern Europe, where Rustem worked as a police officer. In 2005, the Kazazis moved to the U.S. when they were awarded visas through the State Department lottery program. They settled in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2010, the family became naturalized U.S. citizens.
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On paper, Missouri’s civil asset forfeiture laws are better than most. State law requires all proceeds from property and cash seizures be used to fund public schools in the state. However, law enforcement is using a loophole to keep the vast majority of the proceeds for themselves.

Since 2015, Missouri law enforcement seized property and cash valued at $19 million. Of that total, less than 2 percent—only $340,000—found its way to schools.
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Civil asset forfeiture has become a central issue in the Republican races for attorney general and governor in Alabama. While incumbent Attorney General Steve Marshall has expressed support for the process and Governor Kay Ivey has shown little enthusiasm for reform, their opponents in the primary agree reform is needed.

The Alabama legislature recently attempted to reform civil asset forfeiture in the state. The first draft of the legislation would have required a criminal conviction before property could be seized. Law enforcement opposed this approach. In response, a revised bill was proposed, one which was more limited in scope but would have given more oversight to the process. However, even this limited bill failed.
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In 2014, law enforcement seized Petra Henderson’s Harley-Davidson because her husband was driving it while intoxicated and with a suspended license. Petra has spent the last four years attempting to get her bike back. Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the original seizure of the bike.

On April 26, 2014, Petra and her husband, Mark, went on a bar crawl near their home in Robinson, Crawford County. Petra was the designated driver, and they took her Harley-Davidson trike. She had bought the trike in 2010 for $35,000 and was still paying it off in 2014.
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