Articles Tagged with Civil Asset Forfeiture

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city-3195717_1920-300x200After a lively debate, the Metropolitan Council of Nashville, Tennessee has agreed to renew its participation in a controversial federal civil asset forfeiture program called “equitable sharing.” Opponents from both the left and the right argue the program encourages “policing for profit.”

Civil asset forfeiture is the legal procedure where law enforcement can seize an individual’s property or cash without filing criminal charges. In most states, all that is required is the suspicion that the property was involved in a crime. In a criminal case, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. In Tennessee, in cases where a vehicle is seized, however, the burden of proving innocence lies with the property owner.
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supreme-court-546279_1920-300x195On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case which could transform civil asset forfeiture in America. Groups from across the political spectrum presented briefs opposing civil asset forfeiture, asserting that civil forfeiture hurts business and is an affront to civil liberties.

Earlier this year, I reported on the case of Tyson Timbs. In 2013, he was arrested for selling four grams of heroin to an undercover police officer in Indiana. He was sentenced to five years of probation and a year of home arrest. Additionally, he paid legal fees in excess of $1,200 and attended a court-supervised drug treatment program.
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animal-bank-vole-blur-1010267-300x200After an investigation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Marshals Service has carried out the seizure of more than $800,000-worth of FDA-regulated goods from J & L Grocery in Alma, Arkansas.

The seizures occurred on November 7 and 8 at the J & L Grocery retail store and warehouse locations in the north of Alma. J & L Grocery is a discount or “salvage” grocery store. Salvage grocery stores sell products considered unfit for sale by traditional retailers. For example, the products may be near their expiration, packaging may be damaged, or items may have been salvaged from truck wrecks.
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bills-cash-collection-47344-300x212Former Illinois police chief Michael Newsome, who has been charged with the theft of over $200,000 in civil asset forfeiture funds, has waived his right to jury trial. Newsome was first arrested in 2012 and has been out on bond ever since.

Newsome has been charged with seven felonies. The charges include the theft of over $100,000 in government property, official misconduct, and the misappropriation of funds. The thefts are alleged to have occurred between 2007 and 2012.
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anno-1900-clothes-clothes-line-54611-300x201U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is seeking forfeiture action on 52 cartons of men’s briefs that were in a shipment presented for entry into the U.S. at Long Beach Seaport on April 16, 2015.

Entry documents identified the shipment’s importer as Sunshine Import International Corporation. The shipment came from Xiamen, China.

According to the forfeiture complaint, the shipment was seized by CBP on May 18, 2015, and is currently in the agency’s custody. A warehouse inspection by CBP allegedly revealed that the briefs bore a possible infringement of the “leaping cat” design that is a registered trademark belonging to sporting goods manufacturer Puma.

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