Asset Forfeiture

Connecticut to Require Convictions Before Trying to Seize and Keep People's Property

But keep an eye out for a federal loophole.

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forfeiture
Photographerlondon / Dreamstime.com

First the good news: Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy has signed a bill requiring police and prosecutors to actually convict somebody of a crime before trying to take his or her stuff.

HB 7146 is intended to restrain police and prosecutors from abusing civil asset forfeiture, the process by which law enforcement agencies seize people's property when they've allegedly been involved with crimes.

The process is prone to abuse because the "civil" process often means police do not have to prove a citizen is actually guilty of a crime in order to keep their stuff. In many cases, the person doesn't even need to be charged with a crime. Instead the property itself is accused of being connected to criminal activity, and the owner of the property must (if he or she can afford it) prove the property wasn't purchased or earned as a result of illicit activity.

While asset forfeiture is sold to the public as a way of separating criminal masterminds from the rewards of their illegal behavior, it is often used to seize small amounts of money and assets from low-level criminals (or alleged criminals). In Connecticut, the median forfeiture amounts for the past couple of years totaled less than $600. As this infographic from the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this site) notes, it often costs more to hire a lawyer to fight asset forfeiture than the value of the property being seized.

Connecticut is the latest of several states to reform their laws after Malloy signed HB 7146 late yesterday. Under the new law, police and prosecutors will have to get a person convicted of a crime (or have them plead guilty) before they can pursue property forfeiture.

The forfeiture process will itself remain a civil procedure with a lower threshold of proof. Nevertheless, it's significant that a person will actually have to prosecuted before authorities can pursue their property.

Now comes the bad news: A program at the federal Department of Justice will allow police to bypass these new restrictions. The "Equitable Sharing" program lets local law enforcement agencies partner with the feds on raids and other police actions. The police then route the forfeitures through the federal government instead of state courts. This allows police in many states to keep more of the property or assets (up to 80 percent) under looser guidelines than they would under their state's own forfeiture guidelines.

Some states who have reformed their asset forfeiture laws—Arizona, for example, just this April—have structured their changes in such a way that police cannot simply bypass them by turning to the federal government. Unfortunately, that component did not make it into Connecticut's law.

According to Justice Department numbers, Connecticut law enforcement agencies brought in $766,241 in fiscal year 2016 through the Equitable Sharing program. That's not a lot of money, but Connecticut's revenue from forfeiture on both the state and federal level has varied significantly over the years. Over a multi-year period analyzed by the property-rights-protecting legal analysts at the Institute for Justice, Connecticut law enforcement agencies brought in an annual average of $2.1 million through state seizures and $1.7 million through the federal program. We'll have to keep an eye on whether those numbers shift.

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88 responses to “Connecticut to Require Convictions Before Trying to Seize and Keep People's Property

  1. First the good news: Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy has signed a bill requiring police and prosecutors to actually convict somebody of a crime before trying to take his or her stuff.

    Now the bad news: Scott is off to re-education camp for failing to include pronouns for non-binary, genderqueer individuals.

    1. Especially when the singular “their” has been in use for hundreds of years.

      1. Scott felt the need to reinforce the gender binary. As libertarians we must defend his right to do so.

    2. Well, then, obviously he did not intend for them to be covered.

    3. also in the news, Martians take over CT…film at 11:00

    1. Oh my god

      1. Yes, apparently this is a thing now. You will have to find comfort in the fact that the hyrax you ordered from exoticpets.com is arriving today. His soft cuddles will ease this out of your mind. At least until your cats figure out how to open the cage.

        1. Anal Van-Man has a lot to answer for. As for the hyrax, it can take care of itself.

      2. Oh, like you didn’t know, Crusty X.

  2. I realize this is not about Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, but …

    GIVE US WHAT WE WANT

    1. What about his tight watch-band, hunh?!?!?!?!

      1. Hey, if he doesn’t keep that watch-band super tight, it’ll slip right over his freakishly tiny hand and fall off.

        1. When he gives the middle finger while a ladybug is crawling on his hand, the ladybug can’t find a place to take off.

      2. I think you’re all forgetting the real controversy:

        HE EATS HIS FRIED CHICKEN WITH A KNIFE AND FORK!

        A. KNIFE. AND. FORK!!!!! I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN WITH YOU PEOPLE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Good. I hate getting food on my hands too. I eat a hamburger with a knife and fork too, fucker. I am the living embodiment of Human Will.

          1. Real men eat meat with a knife only. Forks are for fags.

            1. How do you smoke cigarettes with a fork?

        2. Just exactly what do you mean by “You people? “

      3. You do realize Don Jr. Tweeted out an email which said he agreed to accept information from the Russian government that would incriminate Hillary, right? He Tweeted that out.

        I don’t know if it’s illegal behavior, but again: he Tweeted it.

        1. When was the last time anything anyone actually said had anything to do with anything?

          And yes, I wrote the sentence like that on purpose.

          1. The last time? Why, this morning, of course.

        2. “I don’t know if it’s illegal behavior, but again: he Tweeted it.”

          If it isn’t illegal, it should be ’cause TRUMP!

    2. A most punchable face?

    3. I would like to point out that those are not bitcoins or etheriums, and that is snail mail not email.

    4. Yeah, come on. If Trump related posts continue to be so scarce, how are people supposed to bitch about TDS all day? Some are still giving it a good college try, but with mixed success.

  3. “Requiring convictions” isn’t enough. Civil asset forfeiture needs to be utterly eliminated. The very reforms that Connecticut just passed is undeniable PROOF of a slippery slope starting from “we will only apply civil asset to those who have been actually convicted” and ending with the shameful situation that Connecticut had just prior to this bill.

    1. Yeah. If people’s stuff needs to be taken after they are convicted, isn’t that what fines are for? Civil asset forfeiture should not be.

      1. Sometimes I think I start too many comments with “Yeah” or “Well”. I’m sticking with it, though.

        1. yeah, well, that’s just your opinion, man.

  4. A program at the federal Department of Justice will allow police to bypass these new restrictions. The “Equitable Sharing” program lets local law enforcement agencies partner with the feds on raids and other police actions. The police then route the forfeitures through the federal government instead of state courts. This allows police in many states to keep more of the property or assets (up to 80 percent) under looser guidelines than they would under their state’s own forfeiture guidelines.

    Recently I was rutting around the IJ’s website* and came across their section on Federal Equitable Sharing, and while it’s enlightening it’s also fairly depressing.

    *Why? Well, my girlfriend was in the dishwasher. **
    **After she is clean and warm I get the BEST F*CK EVAH!

    1. I missed something. What’s this BEST F*CK EVAH! thing?

      1. Go to the AM links comments.

        1. On second thought, in this case knowing is more like the opposite of an education.

          1. Staring into infinity and learning that everything is nothing is still educating oneself.

            1. It’s as if Alan Vanneman accosted you on a lonely road one night and, bending over, spread his cheeks to reveal betwixt them the wetly grinning face of Alan Vanneman. “BEST F*CK EVAH!” the face says.

              1. [curls up, hugs self, rocks back and forth, hums lullaby from deep childhood]

              2. That made my day. I could go read some SugarFree over at the high school reunion, but I can’t be bothered, so this will do.

                I’m really not all that interested in Japanese culture, but they do have the coolest demons ever.

                1. I’ve heard it suggested that Japanese culture got strange because of the existential horror of having been nuked, but really it’s always been just weird as hell. In one version of their creation myth, the islands of Japan are actually a giant shit that one of the gods took in the ocean.

                  1. BEST SH*T EVAH!

  5. So we can expect to see a lot more “joint task forces” with the DEA/ FBI/ BATFE/ whoever in the near future in Connecticut.

    1. It’s important they work together. There are so many assholes, and the feds have so few fists.

  6. First the good news: Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy has signed a bill requiring police and prosecutors to actually convict somebody of a crime before trying to take his or her stuff.

    It still blows my mind that we don’t require that nationally as is.

    Wonder if a criminal could plead a grand larceny charge down to impersonating a police officer.

    1. I’m starting to think that you don’t understand the hardship they are constantly under. Each day is a violent physical assault on all sides for their tight assholes. Criminals and non-criminals alike, carrying guns, both open and concealed. Each is waiting to make sure they don’t go home tonight.

      Everyone moment thousands of bullets sing through the air, aimed directly at their heads, their hearts, and their loved ones. Oh boy, you come on here you think you can make fun of cops? You think they haven’t seen your shit before? I’m laughing at your ignorance. The police will find you through a hailstorm of bullets that they live in, oh yes. And they will make you know justice. YOU FUCKED UP SON.

    2. Impersonating an officer is a serious felony in most if not all jurisdictions, so that’s at best a lateral move.

      1. Unless it’s part of a tasty striptease.

        “Eyes up here, fellas!”

        1. Well, i guess you would know.

          1. You turned orange for THAT?

            1. It’s heavy on my mind, man.

      2. Yeah. It’s worse than murder.

  7. This whole Watergate burglary is such a nothing burger.

    1. “Pay attention to meeee!” the troll explained.

      1. Yawn. All this talk about Dear Leader’s corruption just bores me. We need more articles about how more e. Coli in the meats makes us stronger– preferably written by Baylen Linnekin.

        1. Your Hit’n’Run contributions are as relevant as your shitty 19th-century philosophy, amsoc. Don’t you have some kulaks you could be liquidating or something?

          1. On topic: How do you think all these common sense state laws on asset forefeiture are going to fair under Attorney General William Stonewall Jackson Beauregard Sessions? Der, Trumpz the Bestest libertarianz evah cause hes getting ridz of the beaurocraciez

            1. I suspect they’ll fare pretty poorly, and if you weren’t a completely disingenuous idiot you might’ve noticed me repeatedly attacking the idea that Trump is some stealth libertarian crusader. I’d have thought that a socialist like yourself would be all about asset forfeiture, though. After all, that’s what socialism IS.

              1. There you go again. I favor a progressive income tax, ergo, I’m a Bloodthirsty Stalinist. Talk about squelching debate!

                1. Troll Justly Earns Reputation For Dishonest Argument, Whines About Not Being Taken Seriously

                  1. Troll Justly Earns Reputation For Dishonest Argument, Whines About Not Being Taken Serious

                    Did I win it from Right-Wing Asshole Who Thinks He’s A Libertarian Because He Doesn’t Like The College Kids on Campus These Days?

                    1. I don’t know who you’re referring to, but you sure earned it from anyone who reads that comment.

              2. not to mention the rampant chicken fucking

                1. No, you’re thinking of SIV. This one used to call itself american socialist until somebody else poached the name.

    2. “This whole Watergate burglary is such a nothing burger.”

      Burglary is a crime; something to investigate, no?
      Fuck off, imbecile.

      1. So is a guy lying on the federal form for his security clearance, for starters.

  8. I had no idea who “The Rock” was. There was a “Rocky” who wanted to run for president (Nelson Rockefeller). I guess he had that name before Stallone (but after the flying squirrel). Then there’s Curtis Sliwa, who was known as The Rock in his younger days. Can you imagine the President also running the Guardian Angels?

    1. I still have no idea who “The Rock” is and see no reason to care.

      1. Fun fact: Sevo and Dan S. are jabronis.

        1. Sevo and Dan S. do NOT smell what The Rock is cooking.

          Spoiler alert: tonight, it’s a lovely lamb tagine with couscous and mint tea.

          1. boil-bag photo from yesterday replete with recipe…

            1. The Rock doesn’t sous vide that shit. The Rock bought a handmade tagine pot in motherfucking Morocco to cook that shit in.

              1. Can’t smell what’s cooking sous vide.

                1. The Rock pickled the fuck out of a bunch of lemons from his own goddamn lemon tree and he’s gonna use those fuckers to garnish.

  9. Connecticut to Require Convictions Before Trying to Seize and Keep People’s Property
    But keep an eye out for a federal loophole.

    Connecticut has the right idea about civil asset forfeiture.
    The feds don’t.

  10. I was wondering why the local cops worked closely with the DEA on a regular basis.

    Up heeya in Maine all fines and proceeds from stolen loot go into the general fund. Makes policing for profit kinda pointless. Unless the feds are involved. No wonder the feds are involved in every major organized operation by the cops. So they can keep the loot.

    Also in one nearby city the cops like to parade around in a shiny Escalade that has “We Stole This From a Drug Dealer” (or something similar) proudly emblazoned on it.

  11. True Story: Dear Leader sent his first tweet about HRC’s emails– the portent of which I’m still trying to fugure out– on the same day as he campaign manager, weird son, even weirder son-in-law, and his national security chief met with the Russians. He’s got chutzbah– I’ll give Dear Leader that!

    1. The Russians taught DTrump how to Tweet? I have a new-found respect for their social election technological engineering skills!

      1. That explains his lack of articles and present-tense forms of “to be.”

      2. No, dummy. Dear Leader has been tweeting racist crackpottery for years about how Obama was a secret Kenyan and how illegalz voted for White women from New York and thus that’s why he lost the popular vote. That’s why racist crackpots– mostly without a college degree and mostly from flyover shitholes– continue to love him.

        1. Dear Leader has been tweeting racist crackpottery for years

          Russians used DTrump to contribute racist crackpottery to teh interwebz? Now you’ve got my attention! Is there still time to drain it of its racist crackpottery before it becomes completely full? Please tell me you have a newsletter.

        2. It amuses me how unhinged Trumps election has made you.

        3. I really have to wonder how much intelligence and understanding one has who calls himself Robespierre Joseph Stalin. To those who remember those days (Stalin) there is no humor or smarts about it.

  12. I thought you had to be a politician to say $766,241 is not a lot of money.

  13. Yeah, Sure, now pull the other one.

  14. Government and the “police agencies” that do asset forfeiture are simply criminals. That’s it. No questions.
    There is no excuse for this legal stealing. And the corrupt cops who do it are no better than the alleged criminals they say they are apprehending.

    It’s all lies, and the cops and district attorneys are the most despicable of the corrupt bunch.

    It’s a sad damned time when the cops and the district attorneys of the so-called justice system are nothing but crooks.

    Ask yourself, how are the banana republics and dictatorships any worse?

  15. My home was taken from me and sold even though I was found not guilty of dealing in drugs. http://www.simonprophet.com/ Civil asset forfeiture is wrong. Makes no difference a guilty verdict. Punishment for wrong doing must be consistent and punishing someone who has against not punishing someone who doesn’t have is clearly wrong.

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