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Articles Tagged with preponderance of the evidence

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courtroom-898931_1920-300x226A new law reforming civil asset forfeiture in Arkansas is set to come into effect in July, but critics argue there are so many loopholes that it will change little in the state.

Civil asset forfeiture is a legal procedure whereby police are able to take possession of an individual’s property if that property is suspect of being involved in a crime. In most states, no criminal conviction is required before property is seized. To seize assets in Arkansas, police only need to show that a “preponderance of the evidence” indicates the property was involved in a crime. This standard is far below the “beyond a reasonable doubt” that is required in criminal cases.
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On June 9, Dimitrios Patlias was driving through West Virginia on his way to Jefferson County’s Hollywood Casino. Traveling with him was his wife, Tonya Smith, who at the time was eight months pregnant. They were pulled over by a highway patrol officer who said Dimitrios had failed to stay in his lane.

The officer accused them of smuggling cigarettes or even of having drugs in the car. When he found cash worth $10,478 in the vehicle together with 78 rewards and gift cards, the officer accused them of gift card fraud. However, the officer found no evidence of wrongdoing. He issued Dimitrios a warning and let them go. Despite this, the officer took their cash, gift cards, and Dimitrios’ phone. Dimitrios and Tonya returned home to Egg Harbor, New Jersey with only $2. They had not been charged with any crime.

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