Tag Archives: civil forfeiture laws

Back to the Future (Part II) – The Expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture

By Michael E. Clark and Amanda L. Bassen

In yet another modification by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to Obama administration policies, on July 19, 2017, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions announced a policy reviving the criticized civil asset forfeiture practice that allows the DOJ to forfeit assets seized by state or local law enforcement.  The Attorney General’s order (the “Order”) authorizes the federal forfeiture of property seized under state law by state and local law enforcement agencies when alleged criminal conduct purportedly violates federal law (referred to by the DOJ as “federal adoption”).  The Order allows for the seizure of cash and other personal property from individuals suspected of crimes, but not yet convicted or charged.  Continue reading Back to the Future (Part II) – The Expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Supreme Court Hears Argument In Honeycutt

The Honeycutt brothers run an operation selling iodine to methamphetamine dealers.  One brother makes $269,000 in total profits.  The other brother gets paid a weekly salary, but otherwise takes home nothing.  They are both charged in a drug conspiracy.  The first brother reaches a plea deal with the government, and as a result gets to keep most of the money he made.  The second brother loses at trial.  At his sentencing, the trial court orders the second brother to forfeit (i.e. give back to the government) an amount equal to the total $269,000 in profits – even though he never saw a dime. Continue reading Supreme Court Hears Argument In Honeycutt

New Scrutiny of Civil Forfeiture Laws

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a report on March 29, 2017, faulting the DOJ for failing to systematically evaluate its forfeiture data to determine the extent to which seizures benefit law enforcement efforts or present potential risks to civil liberties.  While the Inspector General’s (“IG’s”) report specifically focused on the forfeiture activities of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), its conclusions may likely be extended to other arenas in which the federal government initiates civil forfeiture activities, including white collar crime.  Continue reading New Scrutiny of Civil Forfeiture Laws