When Your Money Becomes the Criminal


Something is telling in this civil asset forfeiture story out of New Hampshire:

New Hampshire’s new rules came as states across the country are re-thinking the civil asset forfeiture system, the result, in part, of several high profile investigations which uncovered widespread abuse. Backers of the tighter rules, including many libertarian-leaning groups, criticize forfeiture for creating what they consider the wrong incentives for law enforcement, labeling it ‘policing for profit.’

New Hampshire’s new rules, though, don’t apply to federal civil asset forfeiture cases.

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In practice, that means all a state trooper or local cop needs to do is call in federal partners, such as the FBI or Homeland Security, and have them seize the money, even if there isn’t an arrest and conviction.

That’s what happened with Alex Temple’s money, which is now moving through the federal court system under the case name U.S. vs. $46,000.

It’s the money that’s on trial, and of course, money has no rights.  How much clearer could it be that this is outrageous?

  • Rhett Hardwick

    A friend bought a seized Porsche off the cops in Massachusetts. He found it real difficult to find anyone who would sign the papers. What does that tell you? Once I attended an auction of drug seized cars. Nothing but banged up old Buicks. Spotting some “real cars” behind a plywood partition, I asked a federal officer about those. His response? “The public will never see those”. Apparently, government agencies have “priority” bidding rights. So they go to an agency and can then be sold without auction to friends. Not precisely sure of the methodology.