Holder Makes Change in Seizure Policy

Update: I should have waited to read the fine print in the actual directive. This is much less a reform than the press release promised. I'll update soon. The directive is far too vague, has too many exceptions, and states it it is prospective only.

Original Post

AG Eric Holder has put a big dent in the equitable sharing of money, property and car seizures between local cops and the feds. It's the first I'm hearing about it, and it's going to affect a lot of cases.

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.


Here is the press release:

Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order setting forth a new policy prohibiting federal agency forfeiture, or “adoptions,” of assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies, with a limited public safety exception.

...The Attorney General ordered that federal agency adoption of property seized by state or local law enforcement under state law be prohibited, except for property that directly relates to public safety concerns, including firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography.

The prohibition on federal agency adoption includes, but is not limited to, seizures by state or local law enforcement of vehicles, valuables, cash and other monetary instruments.

This order is effective immediately and applies to all Justice Department attorneys and components, and all participants in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.

I hope this also covers pending equitable sharing cases already filed with the federal courts but not yet decided.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This is such good news (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:06:59 PM EST
    this, to me, was the most vile and evil part of the drug war.

    Not the most vile or evil. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by FlJoe on Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 04:58:59 PM EST
     Burning the face off toddlers during no-knock raids, murders and false imprisonment, tens of thousands citizens thrown into a meatgrinding justice system, countless lives ruined,that is vile and evil.

     In the great scheme of things theses seizures amount to petty theft compared to the trillions stolen by the banksters, merely the Koch Bros jacking a couple packs of swisher sweets.


    Good news indeed. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 04:10:53 PM EST
    Shamefully, many seizures had zip to do with drugs at all.  

    Am I missing something? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:52:02 PM EST
    How could anyone have thought that giving police agencies such incredible authority would be a good idea?

    I can just hear the loud slaps to the foreheads of some of our "leaders" while yelling, "what were we thinking?"

    Just incredible. Looks like Holder handed the police unions another issue to cry and whine over. "First you tell us we can't beat, and shoot suspects without cause. Now you tell us we can't rob them either??"

    It's not a bug. (none / 0) (#5)
    by FlJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:26:41 AM EST
    it's a feature of our modern oligarchy. Having the rubes finance their own oppression, a Koch brother wet dream.
    Kudos to Holder for this one.

    Maybe now I'll feel a little safer (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:57:59 PM EST
    driving to the casinos now. It's a sorry state, when you worry more about being robbed by thugs with badges driving to and from your vacation spot than you do thugs in the parking lot with masks.

    Another positive development: (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:20:09 PM EST
    "When authorities call you civilians (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 02:28:48 AM EST
    - instead of citizens, tyranny is already spitshining its jackboots."


    A weird story, but important to read: (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 12:01:59 PM EST
    My township P.D. is currently owed roughly a million dollars by the DEA, an amount which is more than the P.D.'s annual budget.  Most of that amount came from from single bust, a large drug dealer in the next county southeast of here.  How that happened is a weird story and I urge you to find out if similar stuff is happening in your local jurisdictions.

    At one of our township meetings, during the police report, we were told that in exchange for the promise of money derived from asset forfeiture, my township is paying half the salary of a DEA agent who is nominally on the township P.D. payroll.  No idea who's paying the rest, probably another municipality.  At another meeting permission was sought and granted for the purchase of a vehicle for him, by township taxpayers.  At that point in time, none of the promised asset forfeiture cashflow had materialized.

    Those are isolated pieces of a puzzle.  The off payroll aspect reminds me of the Contra era nonsense.

    I'm confused... (none / 0) (#6)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 10:54:40 AM EST
    ...does this "...Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order setting forth a new policy prohibiting federal agency forfeiture, or "adoptions," of assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies..." mean that federal agencies won't be able to seize stuff and then "forfeit" it to state and local LEOs, who will be the ones "adopting" the stuff?

    Or does it keep state and local LEOs from grabbing it in the first place and mumbling something about a federal law to justify it?

    Watching a web video on this (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:38:09 PM EST
    and I'm struck by one statement.  Something like "it was decided that taking a persons money or property when no crime was committed was unamerican"

    Freakin duh.

    How was this ever a question is what I don't understand.  Was it an executive order of some other president?  Is that why they could just change it?  Who's idea was this in the first place?

    THIS IS NOT A DRILL (none / 0) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:10:59 PM EST
    The assault on our rights is so pervasive that this stuff exists right under our noses. Over the years I have read a number of stories about these seizures and indeed felt short term outrage. I had completely forgotten about this issue until Holders actions, too many battles going on I guess. So while we should all cheer this victory on this forgotten front we should realize that this war on our rights is entirely REAL and frankly it still does not look good for the home team.