Misdemeanors trigger asset forfeitures in Orange County, New York

***YOUTUBE— The Orange County Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee approved amendments to Orange County’s misdemeanor asset forfeiture law. Goshen, NY 11/20/14

Asset forfeiture has been described as a form of legalized theft that serves as a major funding source for governments. Through asset forfeiture, law enforcement agencies can essentially take your money, your house, or any other property you own and keep it unless you can prove your innocence and that your property wasn’t used in a crime – either by you or somebody else.

Asset forfeiture violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When cops seize your property under asset forfeiture laws, they don’t have to prove you guilty. The burden shifts to you. You must go to court and prove your innocence in order to reclaim your property. There are numerous horror stories about innocent people have cash seized simply because they were carrying large amounts of money for perfectly innocent reasons.

Governments rake in an astonishing amount of money through asset forfeiture. In 2012, federal, state and local law enforcement gobbled up more than $4.2 billion in assets. Federal laws, along with most state laws, allow state and local law enforcement agencies to pocket a large chunk of that money.



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