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Search results for "civil asset forfeiture" ...

  • Reason Magazine: Chicago Impounds

    This investigation centered on Chicago’s aggressive vehicle impound program, how it intertwines with civil asset forfeiture and the city’s attempts to shrink its budget deficits, the low standards of evidence required to impound a car, and the impact of hefty impound fines on Chicago’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents.
  • Policed Property

    WSPA discovered a major backlog of civil asset forfeiture cases in a local county. Cars seized more than a decade ago had been rusting in the county impound lot while hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was in a sheriff’s office bank account without trial. Their digging revealed the cases involved hundreds of defendants including many who had never been charged with a crime. In each case, the cases had never even been scheduled for trial.
  • Phila City Paper Forfeiture

    Topic: An investigation into how civil asset forfeiture in Philadelphia results in the systematic seizure of cash from individuals not convicted of a crime. "Civil asset forfeiture," is a legal construct that allows government entities to pursue money allegedly tied to crime via a civil, versus criminal, process. Originally intended as a tool to thwart large and complex organized criminal enterprises, the use of civil forfeiture in relatively small-time cases has ballooned in recent decades, especially on the local level to the point where many law enforcement agencies rely on (increasingly petty) forfeiture actions to fund their own operations. While there has been increasing attention paid to forfeiture on the federal level, there exists little published data and reporting on local-level forfeiture operations around the country. This was certainly true in Philadelphia, where my investigation into the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office revealed almost entirely unreported, massive, and profoundly indifferent civil forfeiture apparatus, in which cases are churned out by the thousands in an assembly line-like process, an individual's guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant, and which has been crafted to allow the D.A.'s Office to raise millions annually in revenue from thousands of cases whose merits will almost never be "proven" or even argued before a before a judge or jury.
  • The Cash Machine

    An investigation reveals that the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office seizes millions every year in small amounts of cash seized from individuals stopped by police— but not necessarily arrested, and often never convicted of a crime. Through the use of "civil asset forfeiture," the Philadelphia D.A. has created a kind of forfeiture assembly line, pursuing cases for small amounts of cash by the thousands via a system which proceeds without regard to guilt or innocence and which places a tremendous burden of proof on the property owner. This investigation is one of the first quantitative looks into a big-city forfeiture operation and includes statistics compiled from reviews of thousands of court records as well as data compiled by hand.
  • Asset Forfeiture Collection

    This series examines the use and abuses of criminal and civil asset forfeiture that includes articles on Southern California motor cycle gangs, St. Louis policemen and pimps.
  • (Untitled)

    This was an investigation that uncovered rampant abuse of the laws of civil asset forfeiture at the grass roots levels of law enforcement. Police in small town across the country are stopping motorists and seizing their cash as "drug money" without any arrest being made or even any evidence that a crime has been committed. The money seized then flows back to the local police dept. which seized it to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The motorist, meanwhile is virtually powerless to get his or her money back. (March, 1996)