Politics

Keep your cash: civil asset forfeiture curtailed under new California law

“All across the country, civil asset forfeiture has been perverted into an ongoing attack on families who can’t afford to fight the government in court, a burden that falls disproportionately on low-income people of color. The good news is that as of today, California law enforcement can no longer grab and keep your cash (if under $40,000); neither can they permanently take your property of any value, including cars, wedding rings and homes—unless they secure a conviction.”

As one of many stories we collected for this campaign, we identified a taco truck owner who had $10,000 taken by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He wasn’t arrested or charged with a crime and a California judge ordered the return of his money. But his money had already been transferred to the feds so his lawyer told him it was just too expensive to fight the U.S. government. These kinds of gross constitutional violations occur every day. How this reform was achieved is also important. Diverse groups across the political spectrum came together to support SB 443, generating a groundswell of media and public support for reforming civil asset forfeiture. Nearly every newspaper in the state editorialized in favor. Thousands of petitions and calls were generated to law makers, faith delegations traveled to Sacramento to directly talk to politicians about the impact of this law on their communities. And, in year two, after extensive negotiations with the law enforcement lobbyists representing district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs, these groups removed their opposition in exchange for a threshold ($40,000) that allowed them to pursue cases involving larger sums of cash under existing law and procedures.

Original Article (Drug Policy Alliance):
Keep your cash: civil asset forfeiture curtailed under new California law
Artwork Fair Use: Kilezz

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