From: ("Leon")
Subject: FEAR: Fwd: FTalk: NC drug case dropped, seized money kept
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:10:26 -0600

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On 11/21/2002 at 11:10 AM Tee <> wrote:

>Organization: Forfeiture Endangers American Rights
>FEAR also offers a low-volume announcements list and digests for all lists
>US NC: Case Dropped, Money Kept
>Newshawk: chip
>Pubdate: Tue, 19 Nov 2002
>Source: Wilmington Morning Star (NC)
>Copyright: 2002 Wilmington Morning Star
>Author: Millard K. Ives, Staff Writer
>Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)
> (Corruption - United States)
>Brunswick Hangs on to Funds From Drug Raids
>Money confiscated by Brunswick County officials during a drug raid in
>charges were later dismissed does not have to be returned to the suspects, 
>according to a decision made this month by the N.C.  Court of Appeals.
>The ruling says that federal seizure programs take precedence over the 
>state's and overturns a Brunswick County Superior Court decision in May 
>that ordered the Sheriff's Department to return the money.
>"It was an entirely lawful act that comes with the price of dealing
>County Attorney Huey Marshall said of the seizure.
>Ernest Hill and Morris Hill, not related, had money taken during separate 
>drug raids at their homes in late 2000.
>The Sheriff's Department confiscated suspected drugs and more than $3,600 
>from Morris Hill's Longwood home and $4,033 from Ernest Hill's Shallotte 
>home, contending the cash was obtained through drug transactions.
>Roy Trest, lawyer for both men, had said the Sheriff's Department was 
>unable to obtain lab results proving the substances they collected were 
>actually drugs.
>The charges were dropped.
>The men wanted their money back.  Mr.  Trest said that the money 
>confiscated from Morris Hill belonged to his wife and that Ernest Hill was 
>gainfully employed and had earned his money.
>The Sheriff's Department, however, had already forwarded the money to the 
>U.S.  Marshal's Office, where the U.S.  Attorney's Office funneled the 
>funds through forfeiture proceedings under a federal statute.
>The program determined the money was drug related, allowing the Sheriff's 
>Department to keep 80 percent of it.
>Brunswick County Superior Court had ordered the Sheriff's Department to 
>give the money back, ruling the department was violating a state statute
>failing to safely maintain the property it seized and lacked the authority 
>to forward the cash to the U.S.  Marshal's Office.
>The county appealed the decision.
>The N.C.  Court of Appeals said that once a federal agency has adopted a 
>local seizure, a party may not attempt to thwart the forfeiture in state 
>courts; at that point the exclusive original jurisdiction is vested in the 
>federal court.  The men could have filed a federal civil proceeding, but 
>the deadline has passed.
>MAP posted-by: Richard Lake
>Organization: Forfeiture Endangers American Rights
>FEAR also offers a low-volume announcements list and digests for all lists
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