California Asset Forfeiture Law & Procedure, by Brenda Grantland
Review by Isaac Safier, Esq.
Brenda Grantland is known nationally as one of the foremost experts in asset forfeiture law and has published extensively on federal asset forfeiture law for many years. I had subscribed to her brief bank on her website FEAR.org and used it extensively in my own practice. In this, her latest book, California Asset Forfeiture Law & Procedure, she directs her attention to asset forfeitures under state law in my own state. This is no easy task as the laws and precedent that comprise state asset forfeiture practice are distributed among far flung and numerous legal codes and sections. Thanks to various legislative changes over the years, the legal landscape of state asset forfeiture law in California is a daunting pile to excavate. Grantland’s book delves into this tangled web and makes sense of it an a clear, methodical and most importantly, complete way. There is no equivalent compendium or practical guidebook to California asset forfeiture law on the market today. For any law practitioner or attorney who comes across asset forfeitures in his or her practice, this is an important book to have on their shelf and an excellent investment.
The book is sufficiently complete to act as a stand-alone guide even to a non-attorney pro per claimant who has never litigated a case. There are sections on legal writing, case citations and full explanations of how to conduct discovery under the California civil code of procedure. Unlike some legal books, there is no vague advice or instructions to look elsewhere for more details on aspects of civil procedure. Every statement or explanation is backed up by a specific cite to case or statute, making this an indispensable legal guide when drafting everything from a claim to a proportionality motion.
As a legal practitioner with active asset forfeiture cases I look forward to using this book as a reference and guidebook. Even for attorneys who are deeply familiar with civil asset forfeiture laws and practice, this book has a twofold importance: As a checklist to make sure no option is not explored in a case and no motion is skipped, and as a reference to quickly learn the more tangential and esoteric procedures that are more seldom used. Grantland has done a great service to those opposing asset forfeitures by writing this book.