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Watching The Cops
See other Watching The Cops Articles

Title: Connecticut Just Banned Civil Forfeiture Without A Criminal Conviction
Source: Forbes
URL Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/instit ... without-a-criminal-conviction/
Published: Jul 15, 2017
Author: Nick Sibilla
Post Date: 2017-07-15 06:50:53 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 318
Comments: 17

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed HB 7146 on Monday, which curbs the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Not only did the bill earn endorsements from the Yankee Institute for the Public Policy and the state chapter of the ACLU, HB 7146 even passed both the House and the Senate without a single no vote.

Under the new law, in order to permanently confiscate property with civil forfeiture, the property must be first seized in connection to either a lawful arrest or a lawful search that results in an arrest. If prosecutors do not secure a guilty verdict, a plea bargain or a dismissal from finishing a pretrial diversion program, the government must return the property to its rightful owner. With the stroke of a pen, Connecticut now becomes the 14th state to require a criminal conviction for most or all forfeiture cases.

“Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on Americans’ private property rights,” Institute for Justice Senior Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath said. “The bill is a solid first step to ensure that innocent people do not lose their property to this use of 17th Century admiralty law applied to the 21st Century war on drugs.”

According to data obtained by the Institute for Justice and the Reason Foundation, police and prosecutors generated more than $17.8 million in forfeiture revenue from 2009 to 2016. Nearly two-thirds of those proceeds came from civil forfeiture cases, where the owner did not have to be convicted. Law enforcement predominantly confiscated cash, but also seized dirt bikes, gold chains, and electronics like iPads, TVs and cell phones.

Although civil forfeiture is often defended as a way to stop large-scale drug cartels and criminal enterprises, in Connecticut, half of all civil forfeitures were under $570 in 2016. These small amounts suggest that many victims don’t have the means to fight back against a seizure in court. The state’s conviction requirement should protect many innocent Connecticutians.

But even with the new safeguard, there are several glaring defects in Connecticut’s forfeiture laws. For starters, the state still allows police and prosecutors to collect 69.5 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property. That provides a strong incentive to seek cases with a hefty payout.

Moreover, Connecticut agencies can spend forfeiture money without any public oversight or accounting, leaving both the public and lawmakers (who are supposed to control the power of the purse) completely in the dark. And unlike recent reforms in seven states, the bill does not address the federal equitable sharing program, which has long acted as a loophole to bypass state reforms.

To curb the temptation to police for profit, lawmakers should look to Maine, which sends forfeiture proceeds away from police coffers and towards the general fund. And to hold law enforcement accountable, Connecticut should copy recent reforms enacted in Arizona and Colorado, which force agencies to detail their forfeiture expenditures, including for salaries, overtime, travel, victim compensation, and drug treatment. Both states also mandate regular audits of forfeiture accounts and penalize noncompliant agencies.

Nevertheless, Connecticut’s new reform is an important step to curtail an constitutionally problematic practice. With the governor’s signature, Connecticut joins a growing, nationwide movement that has emerged in recent years to protect property rights from abusive seizures. Since 2014, the Constitution State is the 10th state to enact a conviction safeguard and the 24th state that tightened its forfeiture laws.

“No one should lose their property unless they are first convicted of a crime,” McGrath added. “Along with our bipartisan coalition partners at the ACLU of Connecticut and the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, we will keep fighting until civil forfeiture in Connecticut is abolished, once and for all.”


Poster Comment:

"With the stroke of a pen, Connecticut now becomes the 14th state to require a criminal conviction for most or all forfeiture cases." (1 image)

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#1. To: Tooconservative (#0)

As it should be.

A K A Stone  posted on  2017-07-15   7:55:56 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: A K A Stone (#1) (Edited)

If only they had had the guts to do as NM did and ban it altogether. Maine also did better in that they put all forfeitures in the state's general fund, eliminating the profit motive for police to keep the funds they seize.

Still, this is a step forward. Hopefully, they will make these protections against extra-judicial seizures stronger.

“No one should lose their property unless they are first convicted of a crime,” McGrath added. “Along with our bipartisan coalition partners at the ACLU of Connecticut and the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, we will keep fighting until civil forfeiture in Connecticut is abolished, once and for all.”
A state as rich as Connecticut should hang their heads in shame at allowing the practice in any form without a related conviction.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   8:07:55 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Tooconservative (#0)

So I rob a liquor store of $10,000. No cameras, no witness ID, no evidence. A few miles away I get pulled over for speeding and the cop sees the $10,000 in the back seat and I can't explain why I have it.

Unless they charge AND convict me of the robbery it's all mine, free and clear.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-07-15   10:33:36 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: misterwhite (#3)

Although civil forfeiture is often defended as a way to stop large-scale drug cartels and criminal enterprises, in Connecticut, half of all civil forfeitures were under $570 in 2016. These small amounts suggest that many victims don’t have the means to fight back against a seizure in court.

So if you have $500 and can't prove on the spot where you got it, it's fine with you if Connecticut just seizes it?

You really like the whole guilty-until-proven-innocent concept. You're un-American.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   12:41:17 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Tooconservative (#4)

According to the article, half of all civil forfeitures were under $570. So it could be 5 bucks.

Get pulled over, the cops asks you how much you got, you say $12.95, and the cop takes it under civil asset forfeiture. According to you.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-07-15   13:16:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: misterwhite (#5)

Get pulled over, the cops asks you how much you got, you say $12.95, and the cop takes it under civil asset forfeiture. According to you.

To you, it's fine if they seize it whether it's $5, $500, $5000, $50000, etc.

Is there any form of police abuse you actually object to? Even trying to discuss this stuff with you is like talking to a mentally ill person.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   14:41:34 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Tooconservative (#6)

To you, it's fine if they seize it whether it's $5, $500, $5000, $50000, etc.

Well, I would set a practical lower limit. But if circumstances indicate that the money was acquired illegally, yeah, it's fine with me if they seize it. After all, that seizure is only temporary until the owner can show it's legally his.

You know as well as I do that civil asset forfeiture has zero effect on legal owners. You're just pissed that these laws have the effect of getting some justice when there's not enough evidence to convict these scumbags of a crime.

Next you'll be complaining that law enforcement is arresting more people for crimes in order to enact criminal asset forfeiture. Can you say, "unintended consequences"?

misterwhite  posted on  2017-07-15   15:37:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: misterwhite (#7)

Well, I would set a practical lower limit.

So, you wouldn't want to waste the time of the cops seizing people's properties without a conviction unless there was enough loot to justify the costumed bandits' time?

You know as well as I do that civil asset forfeiture has zero effect on legal owners.

I know no such thing and we have had endless stories on seizures of legit property and money. Then the owners have to fight in the courts to get it back because they were falsely accused.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   16:00:10 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Tooconservative (#0)

Connecticut Just Banned Civil Forfeiture Without A Criminal Conviction

Good! Now require a minimum of two years in the slammer for disregard of that law.

rlk  posted on  2017-07-15   17:12:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Tooconservative (#0)

Simple solution. Authorities that want to seize cash / other assets, MUST file charges. Items seized are held in secure storage. Trial must be speedy. After trial, if acquital, then assets returned to owner, immediately. No delays.

If authorities cannot account for seized items, THEY are automatically charged with grand larceny.

There is no doubt that asset forfeiture has been seriously abused. It has been a license to steal. Time to end it.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

Never Pick A Fight With An Old Man He Will Just Shoot You He Can't Afford To Get Hurt

I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." -- General Douglas MacArthur

Stoner  posted on  2017-07-15   18:05:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Tooconservative (#8) (Edited)

So, you wouldn't want to waste the time of the cops seizing pe people's properties without a conviction unless there was enough loot to ju justify the costumed bandits' time?

I would phrase it differently, but yeah.

"I know no such thing and we have had endless stories on seizures of legit property and money. Then the owners have to fight in the courts to get it back because they were falsely accused."

I've read and commented on those endless stories. They're all similar to, "I borrowed $50,000 cash from a friend -- whose name I can't remember -- to buy a car from a guy -- whose name I also can't remember."

misterwhite  posted on  2017-07-15   18:05:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: rlk, Tooconservative (#9)

You know what's gonna happen. Now they're going to charge the guy with the crime. Given the circumstantial evidence, there's a good chance the jury would convict. So the prosecutor offers a plea deal which is accepted.

Now the poor schlub has forfeited his property, he has legal bills, AND he now has a record.

This will be followed by Tooconservative posting that he longs for the way it was before.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-07-15   18:12:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: misterwhite, Deckard, Vicomte13, ConservingFreedom, Willie Green, hondo68, calcon, TooConservative (#3)

Unless they charge AND convict me of the robbery it's all mine, free and clear.

You are very correct parteigenosse!

This is a Commie idea to prevent government to seize private money without trial and conviction!

Private property is theft! (forfeit or else)

Freedom is slavery! (You may not be enslaved to weed or cocoa powder)

War is peace. (Like in Iraq and Syria)

Ignorance is strength (We don't need those eggheads)

They hate us for our freedoms.

A Pole  posted on  2017-07-15   18:54:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Tooconservative (#8)

So, you wouldn't want to waste the time of the cops seizing people's properties without a conviction unless there was enough loot to justify the costumed bandits' time?

Their time is very precious. But I doubt they will stop car if there is too little money. How do they know? Simple - you talked about on the phone or emailed.

A Pole  posted on  2017-07-15   18:58:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: A Pole (#14)

Some people don't realize that there are towns scattered around the country that prey on anyone passing through for the slightest speeding infractions or anything else they can stop them for. That gives them a shot at trying to search the car or spot someone carrying cash or jewelry or anything else.

I tend to doubt that those towns are in CT, much more in the South or Midwest.

In CT, it's probably a way to harass people out of town or something similar.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   21:55:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Stoner (#10)

Simple solution. Authorities that want to seize cash / other assets, MUST file charges. Items seized are held in secure storage. Trial must be speedy. After trial, if acquital, then assets returned to owner, immediately. No delays.

It would work a lot better than "Seize the loot, auction the vehicle, see if they can sue us for restitution later".

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-07-15   23:03:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: Tooconservative (#16)

t would work a lot better than "Seize the loot"

I disagree, "seize the loot" is what the real men do.

I saw it in the Viking movies.

A Pole  posted on  2017-07-16   3:21:15 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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