The seven defendants named in the complaint are Michael Lacey, 69, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; James Larkin, 68, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Scott Spear, 67, of Scottsdale, Arizona; John “Jed” Brunst, 66, of Phoenix, Arizona; Daniel Hyer, 49, of Dallas, Texas; Andrew Padilla, 45, and Joye Vaught, 37, of Addison, Texas.
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.
The city of Denver has recently come under fire from local activists for its civil asset forfeiture laws after an investigation published by Denver’s Fox News affiliate.
The investigation looked at the city’s practices of property confiscation under a statute called the Public Nuisance Abatement Ordinance, which allows the city of Denver to confiscate property from individuals accused of crimes for which they might later be judged innocent. Although the ordinance is not new by any means, it has recently come into contention after the Denver attorney’s office made $2.4 million in car seizures last year.
It was a big day late last month for the U.S. Customs and Border Protections (CBP), as it seized a significant amount of crystal meth and unreported currency with a value of more than $1 million in Laredo, Texas.
On a typical day, the CBP processes over 1 million passengers and pedestrians. In the 2015 fiscal year, the CBP performed over 2 million drug seizures and seized nearly $20 million in currency.
Civil asset forfeiture laws were originally intended as a way to fight drug trafficking. The laws originated and grew in the 1970s and 1980s as law enforcement agencies lacked a way to diminish the operations of resilient drug trafficking operations.
But the laws have also created for law enforcement agencies a lucrative stream of revenue, and the numbers show just how common civil forfeiture has become in the United States.