Drug Policy

The Institute for Justice Takes Aim at Georgia Forfeiture Abuses


Everyone's favorite firm of merry libertarian lawyers is suing Georgia police agencies over their abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws. From the press release:

Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws and practices in the country, but a lawsuit filed today by the Institute for Justice (IJ) and five concerned Georgia citizens seeks to change that…

In an attempt to ensure civil forfeiture is subject to public scrutiny, Georgia law requires local law enforcement agencies to anndually itemize and report all property obtained through forfeiture, and how it is used, to local governing authorities.

But many, perhaps most, local Georgia law enforcement agencies fail to issue these forfeiture reports, thus turning forfeiture proceeds into off-budget slush funds shielded from public view.  A new report, Forfeiting Accountability: Georgia's Hidden Civil Forfeiture Funds, finds that among a random sample of 20 law enforcement agencies, only two were reporting as required.  Of 15 major agencies in Georgia population centers, only one produced the required report.  Yet federal data show Georgia agencies taking in millions through forfeiture.  Examples of abuse with these funds include a Georgia sheriff spending $90,000 in forfeiture funds to purchase a Dodge Viper, and the Fulton County DA office using forfeiture funds to purchase football tickets. 

Short, animated, superhero-themed video on the case below. My January 2010 Reason feature on forfeiture here.

NEXT: Let Them Live in Houses!

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  1. So, in Georgia, do kids play 'Cops and Robbers' or 'Cops are Robbers'?

    1. You a Canadian, right? That's like sumkinda ultra-yankee to us fine Southern folk.

      1. I can tell you are not a Native Georgian.

        A real Native Georgian would have said "Yer a Canadian..." not "You a Canadian..."

        As for the 'ultra-Yankee' crack, just remember that we actually managed to burn down Washington (actually, it was the British, but there were some tag-along UEL types in on the party). The Confederates never managed that.

        1. Would you mind burning down DC again? Thanks.


            1. Oh, you got that right, buddy.

          2. Would you mind burning down DC again? Thanks

            Only if you promise to nuke Ottawa. (20 megatons should suffice.) Do it during the opening of Parliament.

            1. Look, puckhead, if you're not up to it, I can just go ask the limeys to do it.

              1. I'm not begging off. I'm bargaining.

                1. They'll do it for free. You have no bargaining chip here.

                  1. You are forcing me to take extreme measures:

                    Justin Bieber has two half-siblings!

                    You've been warned!

                    1. I heard that he had 160, and they were planted throughout the US.

                    2. Ssshh!

                      We're trying to intimidate, not cause panic!

        2. I really am a native Georgian, just a relatively well-educated/well-spoken one.

          1. Bless your heart.

          2. "Relatively well-educated Georgian" = "finished 10th grade."

        3. It's painfully obvious that neither of you are Georgians, nor do you have any idea what they might sound like.

          There would very likely be no article "a" in the question. It would be more like:

          You Canaydian?

          1. Having lived in Augusta for 2 years, it would more likely be, "Y'all Canadian?"

  2. But sometimes it backfires (aka Greedy, greedy makes a dead pig).

    Undercover cop's death highlights high risk/reward of 'reverse stings'

    In a traditional drug sting, the cops pose as the buyers and show up with the money. If successful, they walk away with nothing but suspects and evidence.

    But in a reverse sting, the police get to keep the cash they seize under Arizona's forfeiture law, which allows them to take property they say has been used in certain crimes and keep it for their own use. Police can spend the money to buy equipment, build new buildings, travel, or hire outside help. They can even use it to pay for more police to bring in more money.

    Critics warn the built-in profit motive of forfeiture laws distorts priorities of police, enticing them to pursue risky operations in far away cities rather than more destructive street crimes in their own communities.

    The most blatant example of abuse cited by critics is reverse stings.

    "This has become a very sophisticated, very dangerous and very high revenue-generating speed trap," said Tucson attorney Richard Jones, who has handled more than 100 forfeiture cases in his 27 years of practicing law in Arizona. "That's really all it is. You are taking a less effective, more problematic law enforcement technique and choosing that because of the money it generates."


    1. RICO

  3. IJ is one of the few national organizations I give money to. They do good work.

    That is all.

    1. I might look at em.

      So they kinda like the ACLU, but without the pinko cooties?

      1. Can we leave "pinko" as a word in the 50s where it belongs? Because that would be the bee's knees.

        1. Jeepers, mlg. That'd be swell.

  4. Georgia law requires local law enforcement agencies to anndually itemize and report all property obtained through forfeiture...

    So, is that twice a year, or do they have to file the report in duplicate?

    1. I wonder if the law carries a penalty for violations.

      1. You mean like actual teeth written by legislators into a law on justice system oversight? Oh my, you are funny.

        1. Yeah, that was a good one.

  5. joe from Lowell says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Don't get suckered by the IJ. They seize on cute, fuzzy poster boys in order to push radical changes to the law in the service of corporate deregulation.

    "Simply put, the government is not allowed to require people to get a license in order to talk."

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.

    1. Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.

      One of the reasons I give them money. My copy of the First Amendment does not say "except commercial speech."

      1. The copy in joe's head does.

    2. Reminds me... time to go drop a couple dollars on IJ again.

    3. IJ isn't on the TEAM BLUE approved list. Therefore, joe must fight them. He's such a warrior for...uh...partisanship?

      1. The popularity of the goose step comes and goes, but when it is at its peak, watch out! Shit happens!

        He's just waiting for his turn.

    4. joe really is a loathsome human being. I guess being 5'1" will do that to you.

  6. OT but Breaking:

    Harry Reid just adjourned the Senate so that his caucus wouldn't have to go on record either way about a Rand Paul amendment (with 07 Obama quotes) re-affirming congressional war powers.

  7. Remember when you were a wee lad or lass and someone read Robin Hood to you, and you were content to know that the Sheriff of Nottingham's villainy was a mythical evil of the past? Unfortunately, there was also another kid being read the same story at the time who as he listened decided he wanted to be that Sheriff.

    1. Actually, among quasi-historical figures, I would prefer to have been Huang Di.


      1. Which reminds me, I lost my bookmark for a site of translated Chinese wuxia novels during the great porn expedition of 2009. It's in there somewhere in that hopeless to manage clutter of links.

      2. I thought Bruce Campbell took care of him...

        Huang you,
        Huang me,
        Huang Di
        Huang Di is his name

  8. OK, motherfuckers. If Radley ain't gonna punch you in the nuts this Friday in some bizarre turnabout of an April Fool's Day gag, then I'm gonna do it for him.

    Come see the violence inherent in the system!
    Come see the violence inherent in the system!

    1. Jesus Christ, did you get a look at the guy in the middle. He looks like Skeletor from fucking He-man. And again, people wonder why I hate and distrust the fucking po-po.

      1. It is Skeletor. He needed to take a side job to raise funds for his next attack on Grayskull.

        1. At first, I thought those were their mug shots. Then I remembered they were cops and don't get charged with rape when they force women to have sex with them.

          1. Does yelling "stop resisting!" work when raping someone?

  9. Are those real multiplane shots in the video, or do they simulate all those electronically nowadays?

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