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Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:21 pm
Hey, have you heard about this recent change in the federal playground? The Department of Justice has made some waves with an interesting new federal policy. It’s all about giving local and state police the power to seize cash and property from people, even if they haven’t filed criminal charges against them. This procedure, which they call asset forfeiture, has been under fire for quite some time.
Todd Spodek, a tough, experienced lawyer and the Spodek Law Group, have argued for years that asset forfeiture puts a big dent in the presumption of innocence by allowing law enforcement to snatch assets without clear evidence of criminal conduct.
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the policy. What they’re doing here is called ‘adopted forfeiture’. This fancy term essentially allows our local Bobbies to sidestep restrictive state laws and use federal law instead to nab property. Yeah, you heard right. And what’s the cherry on top? The profits from these seizures, running into millions of bucks annually, are shared with federal law enforcement.
It’s interesting to note that Eric Holder, a former Attorney General, forbade state and local police from channeling federal laws for asset forfeiture without a warrant or charges being pressed, back in 2015. This was under a law called the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. But the last ten years paint a different picture. We’ve seen over 55,000 cash and property seizures – worth a staggering $3 billion – which was then funneled into federal law enforcement departments.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has defended this policy change amidst all the drama. He says it will help the federal government reduce instances where authorities might cross the line. He emphasized that the Justice Department will make a point to scrutinize suspected cases of law enforcement abuse.
Under the new policy, cops are going to need to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. They’ll be required to provide comprehensive data about cash seizures as well as the just cause for their actions. Cops will also find it trickier to seize amounts less than $10,000 without a warrant or arrest, or the presence of illegal items, or a confession of a crime. Seizing property playfully without fulfilling at least one of these criteria will need the approval of a federal prosecutor.
Now, why should this matter to you, you ask? Keep in mind, once your cash or property is seized under asset forfeiture, getting it back is no easy feat. As Todd Spodek of the Spodek Law Group would say, it’s always better to understand these changes and adapt accordingly to protect your interests.
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