(Americans for Forfeiture Reform) Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission has released its asset forfeiture report for 2011. This is the first year to be fully accounted for through Oregon’s new online accounting system. The system requires law enforcement to report forfeiture activity and income distributions through an online portal, along with information on the type of property seized, the type of search that gave rise to the seizure, defendant information and case numbers, and, in the case of drug-related seizures, what the related drugs were. It’s a potent accounting system for a practice that often goes on with little oversight.
The CJC report offers a number of eye opening facts about asset forfeiture in Oregon. Civil forfeitures outnumbered criminal forfeitures 2-to-1. The vast bulk of defendants in civil forfeiture cases did not have attorneys. Vehicle consent and probable cause made up 37% of the searches. Over $1.1 million in cash was liquidated at judgment in civil cases, compared to just over $70,000 in property sold. Unsurprisingly, marijuana was the most common drug associated with both civil and criminal forfeiture and currency was the most common item seized.
Not surprising at all. The cops don’t really want to catch the marijuana, they want to catch the money. Check this report from Tennessee:
This is just the cops some news channel decided to focus on, but this practice is rampant all throughout the United States. On top of that, there are the direct federal funds given to local law enforcement specifically to go after marijuana – not murderers, thieves, arsonists, child molesters and rapists. This and civil asset forfeiture are nothing more than legalized corruption and theft by our law enforcement who are policing for profit. It is no wonder the clearance rate (cases solved) on murder has fallen from 91% in 1963 to 60% in 2006. It’s no wonder only 2 in 5 rapes are solved and only 1 in 4 robberies. It’s no wonder that 1 in 8 car thefts and burglaries are solved.
Nobody is paying cops extra to go after those crimes. Cops don’t make $1.1 million in cash busting real criminals. (PowerPoint)