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Articles Tagged with Civil Asset Forfeiture

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person-holding-fountain-pen-753695-288x300The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution guards American citizens against illegal search and seizure of property. But when a law enforcement official does initially have reasonable cause, what happens to the property (including cash) after it is determined no crime was committed after all?

 

This is at the heart of the issue with civil asset forfeiture. And it is being addressed in many states, including New Jersey. As this blog recently covered, in January 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S1963) requiring disclosure and transparency requirements for civil asset forfeiture. New Jersey joins a number of states that have moved in this direction at the request of several citizens’ watchdog groups, including the ACLU-NJ and Americans for Prosperity and the AFP Foundation.

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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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alabama-1611179_1920-300x287Hawaii’s new requirements for civil asset forfeiture will start to apply to local enforcement authorities starting  January 17, 2020.

Civil asset forfeiture is a seizure program used in all 50 states to confiscate financial and physical assets owned by suspected criminals. A handful of states require a criminal conviction before property can be seized, but most states, including Hawaii, simply require police to demonstrate probable cause.

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action-asphalt-automobile-automotive-303313-300x190A resident of Lee County, Florida has been arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer. Christopher Ted Duluk is accused of pulling at least one motorist over through the use of an illegally equipped vehicle. His vehicle was seized after his arrest. It is not yet known if the accused is represented by an attorney or plans to retain an attorney.

 Law enforcement alleges that Duluk, using a 2009 Bentley equipped with police-style lights and sirens, attempted to pull over at least one person. Furthermore, the Bentley was equipped with antennas, a yellow official state of Florida license plate, and a device which is used to measure speed similar to the kind often used by law enforcement. 

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abundance-bank-banking-banknotes-259027-300x200Alejandro Andrale, Former Venezuelan Treasurer, has Assets of over $250 Million Seized in Miami, Florida. Will the Money Be Returned to Venezuela?

 

The U.S. government has seized around $250 million from Alejandro Andrade, a former Venezuelan national treasurer convicted in an international-money laundering scheme. This scheme enabled the purchase of properties, luxury cars, and other items, sources allege. The former treasurer is currently serving prison time for his role in the scheme.

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