It’s like Rock Contardi, except different.
This video contains an interesting discussion about civil asset forfeiture. For some background on the subject, the following is excerpted from an Orange County Sheriff’s Office legal bulletin:
Civil forfeiture first became part of Florida law in 1974. A statute was passed in that year that allowed law enforcement officers to take property from private citizens that was used to transport illegal contraband. The idea behind the law was to deprive criminals of the tools and fruits of their crimes.
Forfeiture is a civil, not criminal, proceeding. A law enforcement agency wishing to begin a forfeiture case must file papers in civil court and follow the civil rules of procedure. Forfeiture is considered to be “remedial,” not punitive. Therefore, a person may be criminally charged for a particular offense, and may be subject to a civil forfeiture action resulting from the same events, without a violation of the double jeopardy clause occurring
The 1980’s were the heyday of civil forfeiture in Florida, and there were reports of abusive practices by law enforcement agencies that resulted in political pressure to curtail civil forfeiture.
The Florida legislature has amended the forfeiture statute several times since 1974. These changes created new and stricter standards for law enforcement agencies. For example, the burden of proof in a civil forfeiture action was changed from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence” to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Agencies are also more limited as to how they can spend forfeiture proceeds.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was tasked with creating guidelines, which it subsequently published. Those guidelines, such as requiring an officer who wishes to initiate a forfeiture to seek the permission of a person designated by his or her agency, provides oversight of officers at the scene. Case law dictates that forfeiture is not favored, and – at least as of 2016 – local judges “tend to hold law enforcement to an exceptionally high standard.”
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