Newsbrief: New Jersey Seeks to Delay Ban on Asset Forfeiture, Will Appeal Ruling 1/10/03

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The state of New Jersey will appeal a judge's ruling that declared its asset forfeiture laws unconstitutional and has asked that it not be enforced pending appeal. On December 11, Superior Court Judge G. Thomas Bowen threw out the state's asset forfeiture laws after finding the potential for profit taints law enforcement decisions about seizing property (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/267.html#njforfeiture). Between 1998 and 2000, the state seized some $25 million in cash and goods, with the proceeds going to police and prosecutors in all 21 counties.

But attorneys for the state appeared in Bowen's court on January 2 to complain that the ban would cause them administrative headaches and might be overturned on appeal, thus should be delayed pending appeal. In a letter offered to the court, Deputy Attorney General Linda Danielson wrote that seized property had been placed "in limbo" by the ruling, since it cannot be divvied up among police and prosecutors. Even worse, wrote Danielson, owners of seized property might flood the courts seeking the return of confiscated items.

And that could cost money. "Whether their claims are successful or not, judicial and prosecutorial resources will need to be expended entertaining such contentions," Danielson told the court.

Justice Bowen had not ruled on the state's request at press time. The state has announced it will file an appeal within 10 days.

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Issue #271, 1/10/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | The Road to Mérida: Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Canada Cannabis Conundrum Continued: Government Will Appeal Ontario Ruling, Prosecutors to Put Possession Cases on Hold | Newsbrief: Eyeing Stiffer Meth Penalties in West Virginia | Newsbrief: First Local Salvia Divinorum Ordinance Proposed | Newsbrief: Huffington SUV-Terrorism Ad Parodies Drug Czar's Drug-Terrorism Campaign | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cops of the Week | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Clears Tokin' Motorist of DWI Charge | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Cops Slow to Act on Racial Profiling Law | Newsbrief: New Jersey Seeks to Delay Ban on Asset Forfeiture, Will Appeal Ruling | Newsbrief: Federal Court Ruling on No-Knock Search Raises Questions About Standard Procedure in Kansas City | Web Scan: Maia Szalavitz in Slate, GAO on Colombia Coca, Globe and Mail on Ontario Marijuana Ruling | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar
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