Sunday, April 24, 2016

From Vox: These states let police take and keep your stuff even if you haven't committed a crime

A bit more for out look at criminal justice.

- Click here for the article.

Most states in America let police take and keep your stuff without convicting you of a crime.
These states fully allow what's known as "civil forfeiture": Police officers can seize someone's property without proving the person was guilty of a crime; they just need probable cause to believe the assets are being used as part of criminal activity, typically drug trafficking.
Police can then absorb the value of this property — be it cash, cars, guns, or something else — as profit, either through state programs or under a federal program known as Equitable Sharing, which lets local and state police get up to 80 percent of the value of what they seize as money for their departments.
But the restrictions in some states, such as California and New Mexico, make it so they can't keep that property without a criminal conviction under many circumstances, under state law. And, therefore, they won't be able to take people's property as easily for personal profit.So police not only can seize people's property without proving involvement in a crime, but they have a financial incentive to do so. It's the latter that state restrictions on civil forfeiture attempt to limit: Police should still be able to seize property as evidence.

And in case you are curious - and as you would suspect - Texas is one of the states thatcan take your stuff without a conviction.

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