Review of new book – California Asset Forfeiture Law & Procedure

California Asset Forfeiture Law & Procedure, by Brenda Grantland

Review by Isaac Safier, Esq.
San Francisco

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.

Federal statutory rights of crime victims are not being implemented

Download “Ritchie Capital Management certiorari petition” RitchieCertPetition.pdf – Downloaded 82 times – 207 KB

Download “(Former) Senator Kyl's letter to AG Holder re: Crime Victims' Rights” CREC-2011-06-08-pt1-PgS3607-3-1.pdf – Downloaded 97 times – 195 KB

by Brenda Grantland 6-9-2011
(c) 2011, Brenda Grantland, Esq.

Copyright notice:  This article may be linked to, emailed, printed, and disseminated to others so long as it is done free of charge, without changes to the text, and with this copyright notice included.  However, this article may not be republished for sale, either by itself or as part of a compilation of other material, without written permission from the author.

Senator Kyl’s letter to Attorney General Holder, read into the Congressional Record yesterday, June 8, 2011 can be downloaded from the attachments above.

In essence what Senator Kyl said yesterday echos what we have been saying all along in my client, Ritchie Capital Management’s, motions in the Thomas Petters fraud case: some federal courts are not implementing the Crime Victims Rights Act, and the Department of Justice is not doing its statutorily mandated duty of using its best efforts to make sure the law is enforced, but instead is litigating against crime victims when they try to assert their statutory rights.

First, a little background for those of you who haven’t followed the Petters case.

The Minnesota federal fraud case against Thomas Petters and his co-conspirators was reputedly the biggest federal Ponzi scheme prosecution in U.S. history when the news first broke in October 2008 — until news of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme case kicked it off the charts a few weeks later.

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