PDA

View Full Version : Found this in class today: Woman fights to keep her SC



SRT-4
04-04-2007, 11:53 AM
Court Seizes the Day
New Jersey Civil Forfeiture Laws Declared Unconstitutional
By Scott G. Bullock

IJ won a resounding victory in December 2002 when Superior Court Judge G. Thomas Bowen ruled that New Jersey’s method of financing police and prosecutors through civil forfeiture is unconstitutional. The decision was the first of its kind and promises to be a precedent-setting case in New Jersey and throughout the country.

As we described in the last Liberty & Law, under New Jersey’s civil forfeiture law, prosecutors and police had been entitled to keep the money and property confiscated from individuals through the state’s civil forfeiture law, thus giving them a direct financial stake in the outcome of forfeiture efforts. From 1998 to 2000, New Jersey law enforcement personnel collected an incredible nearly $32 million in property and currency through the application of the civil forfeiture law. As the judge recognized in his opinion, forfeiture money has been used for "rent for a motor pool crime scene facility, office furniture, telecommunications and computer equipment, automobile purchase, fitness and training equipment purchase, a golf outing, food, including food for seminars and meetings, and expenses of law enforcement conferences at various locations."


IJ Client Carol Thomas on top of her 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC. Unwilling to let the State take her car, she took the State of New Jersey to court to protect her property and to protect the property of others from civil forfeiture.


After examining the New Jersey system, the judge ruled: "In theory and in practice, there is no limitation upon the motivation for enlargement to which a county prosecutor is subject in deciding upon seizure of property. . . . This court concludes that the augmentation of the county prosecutors’ budgets . . . provides to those in prosecutorial functions financial interests which are not remote as to escape the taint of impermissible bias in enforcement of the laws, prohibited by the Due Process clauses of the New Jersey and U.S. Constitution."

By ruling the statute unconstitutional, the decision affects every county in New Jersey.

Judge Bowen’s decision is profoundly important because it puts a stop to the most pernicious and dangerous aspect of civil forfeiture laws: the encouragement to law enforcement to bounty-hunt rather than impartially pursue justice. The decision will ensure that police and prosecutors make decisions on the basis of justice, not on the potential for profit.

One of the things we take pride in at the Institute is litigating cutting-edge constitutional cases, challenging laws and regulations that have not been challenged before. Some might consider these impossible battles, but we provide a solid basis to the courts for striking down laws that violate fundamental constitutional guarantees, and we are willing to lead the charge in doing so. The New Jersey forfeiture case is a good example of our efforts. David Smith, an attorney who wrote the leading treatise on civil forfeiture law and who served as a top U.S. Department of Justice forfeiture official, told the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger that the Institute for Justice’s New Jersey case was "the single most important civil forfeiture case being litigated anywhere."

Judge Bowen’s decision will fundamentally alter the practice of civil forfeiture in New Jersey and could prove a harbinger to challenges in the more than 25 other states that have similar laws. As Mr. Smith correctly noted when hearing of Judge Bowen’s decision: "This is the first time the rotten system has been challenged, and it fell with the first assault. . . . It takes a brave judge to basically say the emperor has no clothes." Indeed.

With so much money and power at stake, the State has already said that it will appeal the decision, but we are confident that the appellate courts will affirm Judge Bowen’s well-reasoned opinion.

Scott G. Bullock is a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice

brandonhgt
04-04-2007, 01:47 PM
See, lawyers aren't THAT bad! :D

Scott Long
04-04-2007, 02:01 PM
Why were they trying to take her SC away as a civil forfeiture?

Here in MI your property can be seized if it is used illegally. Like if you drive around in your SC with a kilo of cocaine in the trunk, they find it, arrest you, and your car gets forfeited and auctioned off.

They also come onto your property and tow vehicles that aren't registerred and licensed. I don't know if those get auctioned or just junked, but the county gets money for them one way or another.

Ira R.
04-04-2007, 02:57 PM
Why were they trying to take her SC away as a civil forfeiture?

Here in MI your property can be seized if it is used illegally. Like if you drive around in your SC with a kilo of cocaine in the trunk, they find it, arrest you, and your car gets forfeited and auctioned off.

They also come onto your property and tow vehicles that aren't registerred and licensed. I don't know if those get auctioned or just junked, but the county gets money for them one way or another.

In the Jersey and New York area they take that to the next step though. You don't have to be caught with the drugs in the car. The fact that you had them in the house, for example, allows them to claim the car was an "ill-gotten gain" from the sale of the drugs. I don't know the exact legal meaning of that, but in practice it means that they can grab your assets and claim they were bought with the profits from the sale of the drugs.

Ira

92sclikenew
04-04-2007, 03:54 PM
Why were they trying to take her SC away as a civil forfeiture?

Here in MI your property can be seized if it is used illegally. Like if you drive around in your SC with a kilo of cocaine in the trunk, they find it, arrest you, and your car gets forfeited and auctioned off.

They also come onto your property and tow vehicles that aren't registerred and licensed. I don't know if those get auctioned or just junked, but the county gets money for them one way or another.

i didnt know you were in michigan , and your close to me well kind of maybe an hour at most.... im in metro airport area like romulus, taylor(if you know them)

seawalkersee
04-04-2007, 04:35 PM
Why were they trying to take her SC away as a civil forfeiture?

Here in MI your property can be seized if it is used illegally. Like if you drive around in your SC with a kilo of cocaine in the trunk, they find it, arrest you, and your car gets forfeited and auctioned off.

They also come onto your property and tow vehicles that aren't registerred and licensed. I don't know if those get auctioned or just junked, but the county gets money for them one way or another.

Wait...they come on YOUR property that YOU own and take the property that YOU paid for? THAT is a violation of your rights there. See, you can be sited as an infraction or even a state law being broken if that is the case. But it would only be for a license violation. Next, if you have it inside a fence, does the same law apply? What about in a storage shed? Your garage? In MO, you can lose your property if it is paid for and used in conjunction with a crime. I think there is something like the "bought with drug money" clause in there, but I dont know how often it is used.

One thing is for sure, I wont move to MI.

Chris

XxSlowpokexX
04-04-2007, 04:45 PM
They do that in NYC also

Ira R.
04-04-2007, 04:59 PM
They do that in NYC also

Hell, unless something has changed recently, get pulled over for DUI around here and you can kiss the car goodbye as well.

Ira

darkstar_one
04-05-2007, 01:52 AM
man, all your laws are crazy, if the city tries to go into my house to remove my unregistered cars someone is going to jail, and it aint going to be me... last time i heard, they need a WARRANT to step on to your property... you know how many cars there are in l.a. that are unregistered in peoples properties? all the lawsuits would leave the city broke... YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL NUTS! STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS! cant you all file for a NON OPERATING PERMIT? were you pay 10 bucks and you register your car as non operating and when you try to operate it you pay the same low fees as if you had registered earlier?

91supacoop
04-05-2007, 08:19 AM
man, all your laws are crazy

hehe...this coming from a guy who lives in California


IJ Client Carol Thomas on top of her 1990 Ford Thunderbird SC.

And what is she doing, poor paint...

mannysc
04-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Kalifornia!!!!!!

pnyklr
04-05-2007, 02:08 PM
the funny thing here is if you get arrested for prostitiution they impound your car then print you name, address and age in the newspaper

there was a big bust in my city this week - it lists all that info and even guys from out of state - :D

darkstar_one
04-05-2007, 07:07 PM
yeah i may live in california but its really comfortable there... the laws in california are way better than the laws here in NEVAda

Scott Long
04-06-2007, 11:13 AM
I have an SC at my house that's in the garage now because the police ticketed it and marked it for removal. I had like 10 days to register it and provide proof or it was going to be towed from my house at my expense. So I got my buddy to help me push it in the garage and the door stays down except when I'm working on my cars.

The neighbor had a 91 Escort sitting outside with a bad trans for 5 years. It was backed up against the driveway next to his garage but still on pavement because he had a wide driveway. It hadn't been registerred in years. Never said anything to him and I didn't mention it to the police because he is my friend. I had the car parked backwards for a while and they stopped and told me I need to have the license plate visible from the street. So I turned it around, then they came back and said if it wasn't registerred in 10 days it was being towed. They put a big orange sticker on the window.

I pulled my car in front of the house in the grass to wash it one day, no more than 20 minutes and it would be moved. A cop stopped and told me that it is illegal to park a vehicle on the grass and that I had to move it or he was going to ticket me.

Out by my dad's in the country I also pull off to the side of the driveway in his yard so he can get his jeep out of the garage and driveway. And in the winter he puts his boat in the yard and covers it so he can park his jeep in the garage. No one says anything out there. But in the city you have to keep your house presentable.

I'm about 3 hours from Detroit metro.

AMD[H]unter
04-06-2007, 12:16 PM
Scott, I would have told him no, that it was my car on my property. You can't tell me I can't park my car WHERE I WANT on my property.

seawalkersee
04-06-2007, 12:46 PM
manlast time i heard, they need a WARRANT to step on to your property

Not true. Property does not have the same safety as the inner domain.

Chris

Kurt K
04-06-2007, 01:07 PM
unter;623370']You can't tell me I can't park my car WHERE I WANT on my property.Depends on the state. More and more states think that eliminating old cars will reduce emissions and, to a lesser extent, fuel consumption. Therefore they are passing laws making it difficult to collect project cars and some even allow such vehicles to be removed from private property.

I know someone here in Missouri that was forced to remove cars from his property even though NONE of them were visible from any road.

Scott Long
04-07-2007, 11:13 PM
Join this group to help stop laws like this from becoming legislation in your state.

www.semasan.com