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January 2015 Archives

Attorney General Limits the Authority of State and Local Police to Seize Assets

The Attorney General issued a federal order setting forth a new policy which limits the authority of state and local law enforcement to seize assets such as cash and cars.  The Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs released a statement on January 16, 2015, announcing the order by Attorney General Eric Holder which applies to all participants in federal forfeiture programs.  Prior to this new order, State and local law enforcement were authorized under the federal forfeiture program to seize assets from individuals even when there was no arrest or allegation of a violation of state law.  The police would typically seize large amounts of cash located during routine traffic stops.  Local law enforcement would seize the property and then request that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law.  The local law enforcement agency would then get a percentage of the proceeds from the forfeiture.

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