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Articles Tagged with seizure

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alabama-1611179_1920-300x287The Alabama House last week passed SB 191, which is designed to improve transparency in civil asset forfeiture cases in the state. Having passed both houses of the legislature unanimously, the bill now moves to Governor Kay Ivey’s docket for her to approve.

Civil asset forfeiture is the legal process where police make take possession of an individual’s property—such as a car, home, or cash—if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. In most states, criminal charges are not required for property to be taken, let alone a criminal conviction.
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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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honda-2453746_1920-300x225The American Honda Finance Corporation has filed a lawsuit against the city of Revere, Massachusetts, alleging its constitutional rights were violated in 2016 when the Revere Police Department seized a Honda Civic using civil asset forfeiture.

Civil asset forfeiture is the legal procedure whereby law enforcement agencies may take possession of property if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. In most states, neither a criminal conviction nor even criminal charges are needed before property is taken. While there are few restrictions or oversight on the procedure in most of the country, Massachusetts is one of only two states—the other being North Dakota—to earn an F grade from the libertarian Institute for Justice for its civil asset forfeiture laws.
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michigan-1191024_1920-300x200Yesterday, the Michigan Senate passed a bill which would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement can permanently take an individual’s assets using civil asset forfeiture.

This is the latest attempt by the legislature to reform civil asset forfeiture laws in the state. Last year, a similar bill passed the House but was never voted on in the Senate. Another bill introduced last year was intended to ensure police officers had adequate training when it came to seizing property. A third bill would have put local forfeiture processes under the domain of state law, making asset forfeiture consistent across the state.
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philadelphia-224464_1920-300x200If anyone knows how unjust civil asset forfeiture can be, it’s Philadelphia resident Norys Hernandez. Law enforcement attempted to seize the house she owned with her sister even though she had done nothing wrong. The authorities attempted to take her home after her nephew was arrested for dealing drugs on the property.

It took years, but Norys eventually got her house back. She was part of a class-action lawsuit that was settled for $3 million last year.

Civil asset forfeiture is the legal process where police may take someone’s property if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. A criminal conviction is not required in most states. In fact, of the four plaintiffs named in the class-action lawsuit who had their houses seized, none were accused of having committed a crime. In three cases, the houses were seized because a relative had been caught selling drugs in the house.
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