Saturday, January 17, 2015

Eric Holder Does Something Right

As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless it's a military timepiece and right only once.

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.
Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

“With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” Holder said in a statement.
So called "civil forfeitures" have become a giant business with some police agencies, who actually write the forfeit targets into the their annual budgets, and have become dependent on this money. I expect massive push back from the the states and local governments over this.

This may represent a form of overreach by the Justice Department, as this program is written into law passed by Congress. But if they're going to overreach, this is a good place to start.

I'm shocked that the Supreme Court let stand law that allows confiscation of property without proof that the property owner is guilty of a crime.

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