The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast. These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need. Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.
These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or email@example.com) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.
Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
Search results for "civil forfeiture laws" ...
Topic: An investigation into how civil asset forfeiture in Philadelphia results in the systematic seizure of cash from individuals not convicted of a crime. "Civil asset forfeiture," is a legal construct that allows government entities to pursue money allegedly tied to crime via a civil, versus criminal, process. Originally intended as a tool to thwart large and complex organized criminal enterprises, the use of civil forfeiture in relatively small-time cases has ballooned in recent decades, especially on the local level to the point where many law enforcement agencies rely on (increasingly petty) forfeiture actions to fund their own operations. While there has been increasing attention paid to forfeiture on the federal level, there exists little published data and reporting on local-level forfeiture operations around the country. This was certainly true in Philadelphia, where my investigation into the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office revealed almost entirely unreported, massive, and profoundly indifferent civil forfeiture apparatus, in which cases are churned out by the thousands in an assembly line-like process, an individual's guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant, and which has been crafted to allow the D.A.'s Office to raise millions annually in revenue from thousands of cases whose merits will almost never be "proven" or even argued before a before a judge or jury.
Tags: Civil asset forfeiture;
NewsChannel 5's award-winning investigative team wrapped up a two-year investigation into practices that some call "policing for profit" with a primetime documentary that aired Friday, Dec. 21. The one-hour special included actual police "dashcam" videos of officers seizing cash from out-of-state drivers and extended interviews that have never been aired. The documentary examines civil forfeiture laws that allow Tennessee police to legally take cash from individuals based on suspicion that the money might be linked to drug trafficking. If an individual does not take legal action to recover the money, the police agency gets to keep it all – sometimes to pay the salaries of the officers seizing the cash. As our investigation showed, such "profit motives" create the potential for corruption.
"Months or years before some suspected Scott County drug dealers get their day in criminal court, their seized property and cash already belong to law enforcement agencies. One in four Scott County residents who had property and money seized by local police never faced any criminal charges, a Quad-City Times investigation of court records shows."
Tags: defendants; police seizures; profits; drug; civil forfeiture laws; criminal convictions; criminal trials; "bounty-hunting" of assets; budget padding; tracking property; guns; vehicles; homes; boats
This was an investigation that uncovered rampant abuse of the laws of civil asset forfeiture at the grass roots levels of law enforcement. Police in small town across the country are stopping motorists and seizing their cash as "drug money" without any arrest being made or even any evidence that a crime has been committed. The money seized then flows back to the local police dept. which seized it to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The motorist, meanwhile is virtually powerless to get his or her money back. (March, 1996)
The News-Press investigates Florida's controversial forfeiture laws. The News-Press reviewed 122 Fort Myers police seizure cases and found that the police had used settlement agreements and the civil courts to seize money, cars and property. (May 29, 1994)