From: ("Leon")
Subject: FEAR: Fwd: ARO: Utah Lawmakers May Alter Asset-Forfeiture Law
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 11:49:18 -0600

Looks like the "authorities" out in Utah want to override the voter initiative that put a clamp on forfeiture abuse. Does that bother anyone?

Just remember we are a "republic" not a " democracy" and we elected these people because they know best what is good for the rest of us. 


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On 11/14/2002 at 10:56 AM Eric Sterling <> wrote:

> From Join Together On-line
>Utah Lawmakers May Alter Asset-Forfeiture Law
>Utah lawmakers have proposed amendments to the state's current 
>asset-forfeiture law in order to make it easier for police to seize 
>property associated with drug crimes, the Deseret News reported Nov. 10.
>"I think everyone wants to protect innocent people from having their 
>property seized," said Kirk Torgensen, the attorney general's chief 
>criminal deputy. "The issue is this voter-initiative law created all kinds 
>of problems unknowingly."
>According to Torgensen, the current law effectively removes the ability of 
>local police agencies to pursue asset seizures through drug-forfeiture 
>cases. "State forfeitures came almost to a halt because there were so many 
>problems the initiative created," he said.
>Since voters approved the law two years ago, Utah law-enforcement agencies 
>reportedly have given up more than $2.5 million in federal money related
>drug property seizures.
>Under the current law, police agencies are required to pay all attorney 
>fees if they determine during the forfeiture process that some or all of 
>the property can be returned to the defendant.
>Salt Lake County Assistant District Attorney Clark Harms said the law 
>places such strict liability on law enforcement in seizure cases that 
>agencies have simply stopped pursuing such cases.
>Harms added that the law has had a significant impact because of the loss 
>of federal dollars. "Any of that property seized federally and forfeited 
>federally, 80 percent of it would have come back to local law enforcement 
>in Utah without local law enforcement even involved in the case," he said. 
>"We don't get that money."
>State and local prosecutors are currently reviewing the proposed 
>amendments. One of the proposals would make state and local law
>eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the proceeds from property ordered 
>seized and retained. The agency's political entity would oversee
>of the assets.
>The proposed amendments will be presented to the legislature's Law 
>Enforcement and Criminal Justice interim committee later this month.
>* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
>Forwarded by
>Eric E. Sterling
>After 30 years of failed "war on drugs,"
>     isn't it time to control drugs?
>Regulation is pro-control, prohibition isn't.
>Tel:  301-589-6020  Fax: 301-589-5056
>8730 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400
>Silver Spring, MD  20910-3649

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