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Civil Forfeiture

The Power of Sheriffs: Explained

In September 2018, President Trump stood in front of 44 sheriffs as he began another diatribe against the New York Times and other media outlets that had published stories criticizing his administration. The sheriffs applauded. The meeting was originally scheduled to be between the sheriffs and officials from ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. […]

NYPD Agrees To New Rules Limiting Its Seizures of New Yorkers’ Property

For decades, the New York Police Department has subjected people it arrests to a labyrinthine and bureaucratic process for retrieving their seized property. Often, poor New Yorkers — many without the legal assistance needed to navigate this process — give up on their property instead of trying to get it back. In a rare disclosure to the public, the […]

Civil Asset Forfeiture: Explained

In our Explainer series, Justice Collaborative lawyers and other legal experts help unpack some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines—like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine—so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected […]

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Indiana law that allows law enforcement to seize vehicles of people not convicted of crime unconstitutional

An Indiana vehicle seizure law that allows police and prosecutors to seize vehicles before the owner has been convicted of a crime has been ruled unconstitutional. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled that seizing vehicles before an official forfeiture action violated the Constitutional right to due process. “The Court concludes that the statutory provisions […]

Court rejects prosecutor’s unlawful use of seized funds

The Illinois Supreme Court has smacked down a prosecutor who created his own private police force with civil asset forfeiture dollars. Former LaSalle County State Attorney Brian Towne created the task force in 2011. According to Forbes, “Using the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which allow law enforcement to seize — and keep — property even if the owner has never been criminally charged, […]

Las Vegas area cops seizing millions of dollars from low-income people of color

Between July 2015 and June 2016, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) made $1.9 million from civil asset forfeiture, the law enforcement practice of seizing cash and property from members of the public and forcing them to legally forfeit those belongings. Now, evidence shows that the funds came from low-income, predominately non-white neighborhoods. According to […]