Saturday, July 23, 2011

Asset Forfeiture Way Up in Mendocino County

Mendocino County: Apparently not just for growing wine grapes.
Chalk this one up to "Nope, no way this could ever be abused": the Press Democrat reports that asset seizures related to drug arrests in the first six months of 2011 were way up in Mendocino County. County law enforcement has apparently seized $646,000 worth of property and money, more than three times as much as they seized in the same time period last year. The state of California gets about a quarter of this money; the rest stays with local law enforcement, where it pays for equipment and, increasingly, police overtime costs, as well as community programs. The County Sheriff's Department is expected to get about a third of the total amount. Critics of asset forfeiture, of course, complain that defendants often face considerable difficulty in retrieving seized property if their charges are dropped or cleared.

Hmm. It seems odd that marijuana cultivators in Mendocino County have gotten three times less careful in one year. After all, if they haven't, that would mean law enforcement is abusing asset forfeiture as a way of generating revenue. And we all know there's no possibility that that's the case.

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