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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 142304 Find in a Library
Journal: Law Enforcement Quarterly  Dated:(May-July 1993)  Pages:13-16
Author(s): P Gallagher; J Rubalcava
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 4
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Asset forfeiture, permitted under both State and Federal law, allows investigators to seize the property and assets of criminals who acquired or used that property illegally; asset forfeiture is most often employed against drug traffickers, but has also been used in cases involving fraud, smuggling, kiddie pornography, and tax and securities offenses.
Abstract: Assets can be forfeited administratively, criminally, and civilly. For example, most local forfeitures in California have been processed through the Special Investigations/Asset Removal Group and Financial Investigation (FINVEST) units of the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force. Civil forfeiture against the property itself requires an initial showing of probable cause, which is subject to rebuttal. Criminal forfeitures proceed as part of the criminal case and require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. State and Federal law provide for two types of civil forfeiture: administrative and judicial. Individuals facing the forfeiture of their property have several possible defenses at their disposal: the innocent owner defense for those unaware of the illegal activity, proportionality, and position of the innocent lienholder. Forfeiture prosecutions, like any other prosecution, must weigh the advantages versus real life considerations of police budgets, court caseload, agent caseload, attorney caseload, and minimum value assets. However, once an asset is forfeited, its proceeds are shared between agencies according to the amount of work performed on the case; the assets received by law enforcement agencies are then used to continue the war on drugs.
Main Term(s): Drug law enforcement; Forfeiture
Index Term(s): California; Civil proceedings; Criminal proceedings; Drug forfeiture; Federal law violations; State laws
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