Given that the government determines which form of confiscation should be applied, it is not surprising that most are carried out in civil (in rem) proceedings. In the words of former President George Bush, « Asset forfeiture laws allow the government to take the ill-gotten profits of drug lords and use them to bring more police officers onto the streets. » NYPD Chief Howard Safir invoked deterrence when he said, « We believe that. The threat of civil forfeiture and the possibility of losing your car have helped reduce the number of motorists willing to take the risk of being caught intoxicated. On the other hand, a civil rights group filed a lawsuit challenging the legality and constitutionality of the New York program. Citing some of the same constitutional concerns, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would significantly restrict federal enforcement of the law. Civil forfeiture varies considerably from state to state. An analysis by Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker suggested that states that place seized funds in neutral accounts, such as Maine, Missouri (which places seized funds in public education accounts), North Dakota, and Vermont, are far less likely to have major scandals related to confiscation abuse. [9] States such as Texas, Virginia and Georgia, which have few restrictions on police use of seized funds, have seen more scandals, as have states that allow the equitable sharing program. With fair sharing, state police can « bypass government restrictions on the use of funds, » Stillman said. [9] In Florida, the small village of Bal Harbour used fair sharing to collect at least $71.5 million from its vice command through a covert money-laundering operation in three years, but ultimately made no arrests. [9] In 2019, Arkansas enacted a new law that, with few exceptions, requires a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture of associated assets.

[50] Unlike criminal forfeiture, civil forfeiture is directed against property, not the person. In theory, civil actions are remedies, not punitive ones like criminal proceedings. Through civil action, the government seeks to repair the damage caused by the fiction of « guilt » of property. Confiscation was originally presented as a way to cripple large criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But today, aided by deeply flawed federal and state laws, many police departments are using forfeiture to improve their bottom line by making seizures motivated by profit rather than fighting crime. For persons whose property has been seized by civil forfeiture, legal recovery of such property is notoriously difficult and costly, with the cost sometimes exceeding the value of the property. As the total value of confiscated property increases every year, calls for reform are growing, and the CLRP is at the forefront of organizations trying to curb this practice. Due to its civil nature, the roles of the parties are changing. Instead of a prosecutor against a defendant, the hearing involves a plaintiff, the United States in the case of federal forfeiture, and a defendant, the property in question. The owner is effectively put in a position to be a third party plaintiff. In addition, civil proceedings involve a lighter burden of proof than « beyond a reasonable doubt. » Once the government has determined a probable reason why the property is subject to deterioration, the owner must prove by « thwarting the evidence » that this is not the case.

The cash was seized under special circumstances. For example, New York businessman James Lieto was seized in cash to the tune of $392,000 by federal agencies because his legitimate funds were mixed with illegal funds in an armored car seized by an FBI investigation. [15] Lieto had to wait until the government`s criminal case was over before he could get his money back, which took a long time and caused considerable financial hardship and stress. [15] Administrative forfeiture is a real action that allows the federal seizure authority to confiscate property without judicial intervention. The authority for a seizure entity to bring an action to remove the administration is found in the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1607. The assets that may expire administratively are: goods whose importation is prohibited; a conveyance used for the import, transport or storage of a controlled substance; a monetary instrument; or other property not exceeding $500,000.

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