DOJ Reopens Asset Forfeiture Sharing Program After Temporary, Budget-Related Shutdown

from the and-there-was-much-[law-enforcement]-rejoicing dept

Right before the end of last year, the DOJ -- facing budget cuts -- announced it would be ceasing its "equitable sharing" program with local law enforcement agencies. These agencies complained loudly about the unfairness of being decoupled from the asset forfeiture money train, as this partnership often allowed them to route around more restrictive state laws.

Today, they're breathing more easily, thanks to the DOJ's resumption of the temporarily-disabled program.

The Justice Department has announced that it is resuming a controversial practice that allows local police departments to funnel a large portion of assets seized from citizens into their own coffers under federal law.

The "Equitable Sharing Program" gives police the option of prosecuting some asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law, particularly in instances where local law enforcement officers have a relationship with federal authorities as part of a joint task force. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize.
A North Carolina sheriff is looking at getting his hands on nearly a million dollars -- all tenuously tied to illegal activity.
(The equitable sharing program) is a great benefit,” Graves said. “It takes money from the drug trade and puts it to better use for the community.”

He said that according to the best estimate from pending cases, equitable sharing should provide the sheriff’s office with approximately $846,000.
Meanwhile, another North Carolina sheriff says the lack of sharing might have resulted in dead officers had the feds not resumed handing out money taken from people never charged with a crime.
“The restoration of the Equitable Sharing Funds will serve as a boost to the morale of law enforcement professionals nationwide,” said Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson. “These monies were used by my agency in the past to purchase much needed equipment for the safety of our officers and the citizens of our communities. I am very thankful to God that we did not lose any officers because of the lack of safety equipment during the suspension of the Equitable Sharing Program…"
And it appears New Hampshire is either heavily-reliant on equitable sharing, or its representatives heavily-reliant on law enforcement support. Both senators and the state's governor issued statements welcoming back the DOJ's set of twisted incentives.

Then there's this article, with a headline that appears to have been written by law enforcement.
Money coming back: Federal program resumes helping local municipalities
This is not good news for citizens, as they're now facing an increased risk of having their cash and belongings taken from them without ever being charged with a crime. The best move would have been to leave this permanently defunded. The DOJ isn't saying how it's making up the $1.2 billion difference that resulted in the shutdown last year, but it likely has something to do with the fact that its seizures -- via the FBI and DEA -- are still generating plenty of "income."


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  • identicon
    The Sun Whispers Your Tears, 1 Apr 2016 @ 8:33pm

    Ah yes, reimplementing the thieving cops program. This is insane. The totalitarian police state is already here and it keeps getting worse. The oblivious sheeple who still think cops are on their side... what will it take to wake you up?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      probably having a gun shoved in their face for not showing the dirty cop the respect he demands and feels he was not given.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 1 Apr 2016 @ 9:14pm

    Funding question.

    Maybe they did a bake sale or how about a car wash. You never know with how resourceful our government officials are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2016 @ 9:29pm

    living one county over from Alamance county I can say that allegations of corruption towards the sheriff there are widespread.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2016 @ 9:32pm

      Re:

      also living near Randolph county the idea that they need a mobile command center is laughable it is extremely rural.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 1 Apr 2016 @ 9:38pm

    A little translation needed

    These monies were used by my agency in the past to purchase much needed equipment for the safety of our officers and the citizens of our communities.


    Because the citizens really needed a tank and rpg's and ak-47s to protect the community, right? Probably quite a bit of this money is handed right back to the government for military equipment. That's probably why they had to restart the program - they saw a big drop in sales of used military stuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 1 Apr 2016 @ 9:53pm

    Government thieves

    A really disgusting practice. Not sure how this is considered constitutional.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 2 Apr 2016 @ 6:44am

      Re: Government thieves

      Because war! Drug War, War on Terrorism, any other 'war' you can think of, everything goes in 'war', rules are for 'peace-time'! Criminals neither have no deserve rights, and the government and/or police are never wrong, so if they say someone(or more accurately something) is guilty then that should be good enough for everyone!

      /poe

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pixelation, 2 Apr 2016 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: Government thieves

        "...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

        Why do I think Due Process is out the window here?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 2 Apr 2016 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Government thieves

          Because it is?

          People have rights, property doesn't, so once they decided that they could skip the step where they have to charge the person and instead moved straight to charging the property, any rights and/or limits were discarded, including the very idea of 'Due Process'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 2 Apr 2016 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government thieves

            Yup. Of all of the ways that the US "justice" system has devolved, this is one of the easiest examples to get people to understand -- because it's clearly insane even on a brief glance.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Pixelation, 2 Apr 2016 @ 2:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government thieves

            "...once they decided that they could skip the step where they have to charge the person and instead moved straight to charging the property,..."

            I'm thinking we need to start suing the judges' money.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2016 @ 9:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government thieves

              Laws are created to disadvantage the citizens... no one else.

              Even regulations are created in a way to 'Appear' to disadvantage businesses but they just disadvantage the citizens in the end.

              The People of the US are lost, ignorant, and have the government we asked for. Yet, you will interestingly find very few willing to admit that they helped cause this problem. Just another symptom of the problem, Americans are like a bunch of raging alcoholics that refuse to admit they have a problem.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2016 @ 4:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government thieves

                It is fun to pigeon hole others in demeaning ways because it makes you feel so superior. Does this help you make it through your pitiful day?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 12:12pm

      Re: Government thieves

      sadly the government ignores their citizens constitutional rights when it gets in their way of doing what they want to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 1 Apr 2016 @ 11:29pm

    Some call it 'much needed equipment', some call it bribery - 'you help us, we'll pay for those fancy iPads your overseers don't see the point in buying you.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 2:03am

    Not only will we legalize sodomy, we will promote it. Gives a whole new meaning to the expression cover your ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 2 Apr 2016 @ 4:33am

    Corruption only works when everyone is in on it. You can't let just some agencies have iPads and espresso machines, and arbitrarily deny others. It wouldn't be fair to the other hard working, corrupt public servants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    annonymouse, 2 Apr 2016 @ 5:13am

    @mark w

    It wouldn't be fair to the other hardly working uncivil overseers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 5:58am

    "A North Carolina sheriff is looking at getting his hands on nearly a million dollars -- all tenuously tied to illegal activity."

    Got to pay for those donuts somehow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 7:02am

    If it looks like conflict of interest and smells like conflict of interest ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Shadow, 2 Apr 2016 @ 10:46am

    Insanity meets clowns - legalize crime

    Stick a fork in us, we are done.

    Travel in armed groups. Plan well. Keep the cameras rolling and streaming.

    Pray your next life will be in a more civilized place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 12:08pm

    dedicated to shoving that corrupt jackboot up the backside of law abiding citizens everywhere.

    I would swear they are taking the opportunity to abuse their powers as much as possible lately. Almost like they want people to start fighting back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2016 @ 10:44am

      Re:

      "I would swear they are taking the opportunity to abuse their powers as much as possible lately. Almost like they want people to start fighting back."

      Yep - they are seeing how well they have desensitized us. At some point the fog will start to clear, but they'll be well entrenched and ready for a battle by then. Almost sounds like I'm talking about daesh rather than our own corrupt-to-the-gills govt.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Apr 2016 @ 12:15pm

    So then it's ethical to steal from Law Enforcement...

    ...given all their goods are purchased with stolen or ill-gotten money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 2 Apr 2016 @ 2:23pm

    What a Joke. .

    Welcome to the wonderful of law enforcement and lawyers where even inanimate object are presumed guilty until proven innocent!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 2 Apr 2016 @ 5:13pm

    Sigh...abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Until there's a series of good test cases bankrolled by ACLU and other civlib organizations, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor are at risk from "law enforcement". Apart from all the constitutional issues, the big Catch-22 in this is that if you've had your assets seized, you don't have the wherewithal to hire an attorney to appeal the seizure. The SCOTUS has ruled that the government has to allow a defendant to use "clean" assets to fund a defense, but what good does that do if the claim is that all of your assets are dirty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2016 @ 9:00pm

      Re:

      Bad enough you have countries like Russia and Canada warning their citizens of the police committing highway robbery against people carrying large amounts of cash.

      They actually put out a travel advisory against their citizens carrying cash when they visit the states.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        klaus (profile), 4 Apr 2016 @ 12:41am

        Re: Re:

        Yep, we get these warnings in Europe, too. We're warned about carrying cash or valuables, not because of high crime rates, but because the police are routinely confiscating it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2016 @ 8:13am

    Asset forfeiture is theft, plain and simple.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2016 @ 8:17am

    As you were told at the time, Holder buried the program so questions about it's future use would not stimey Lynch's confirmation. Now that her walking-talking-fecal-matter's ass is in place, she, as expected, is resurrecting the criminal usage of it (as criminals tend to do).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Apr 2016 @ 5:18pm

    Remember what the Holy Inquisition learned to do regarding Asset Foreiture

    They finally realized that it was fair play to torture witnesses until one spilled a name, which would be justification to torture that new person.

    You could confiscate an entire county that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michelle abbott, 18 Apr 2016 @ 9:32pm

    Said conduct abuse

    You may not know me & I guarantee by the time u get my complete background u will realize u r under investigation internally. Stop pull'n nigga's on the street make sure a good shoot is just that. You have been Warrener mulberry at style

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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