WOT – Good Stuff – Holder eviscerates Civil Forefeiture, and a Debussy Prelude!

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Eric Holder Pledges to Continue the Witch Hunt against Marijuana

Eric Holder OJB graphic from Oct. 2010 — a lot less positive days than what we have now!

I know that a lot of us, for reasons ranging from legitimate and urgent to far-fetched and wacky, have had problems with Attorney General Eric Holder — but at long last he just went up quite a few steps in my book.  He is unilaterally getting rid of the most unjust aspects of civil forfeiture.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

Again: these are confiscations in the absence of convictions.  Read Vern’s piece on an absurd (and ultimately reversed) seizure in Anaheim, by someone who could afford a good attorney.  Most victims of the practice could not.  This reform was well-overdue.  Yes, it will chop into police department budgets.  Maybe they can take a tip from NYC at the beginning of the year and not go after people for the ticky-tacky stuff.  Not spending on the municipal paramilitary programs would also be a nice and cost-saving gesture.

This, as I burrow out from a very busy (and more recently very ill) few weeks, is your first reasonably-on-time official-from-the-start, Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about this story, or anything else you’d like, within broad bounds of decency and discretion.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)