(c) 2015 Brenda Grantland
from Truth and Justice Blog, 4/11/2015
While we are going through the effort to try to reform civil asset forfeiture laws we need to take a look at criminal forfeiture as well. Third parties in criminal forfeiture cases are often treated worse than civil forfeiture litigants. They certainly are not afforded the same level of due process protection.
I have previously reported on various abuses of criminal forfeiture process, especially as it affects third parties who are not charged with any crime. See my November 30, 2014 blog, Criminal forfeiture laws need to be reformed too, and my December 6, 2014 blog, The way they are enforcing criminal forfeiture laws against third parties is just plain criminal.
Let’s face it, criminal procedure is designed to provide criminal defendants with their constitutional rights while aiding prosecutors and courts in efficiently prosecuting cases and forfeiting assets. It was not designed to protect the rights of people who are not parties. Victims of the crime and third parties who own interests in the property being forfeited frequently see their interests tied up for years in a process in which they do not get to participate, and in which their Due Process rights are ignored because they are not parties.
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