Category: Asset Forfeiture Law

The Baby and the Bathwater: Forfeiture “reform” bill would undermine the Government’s ability to combat international money laundering and other serious crimes

H.R. 1795, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives to reform the civil asset forfeiture laws, would reach far beyond the seizures of cash by state and local police that have generated controversy.  In fact, it would undermine the Government’s ability to use the only tool available to combat international money laundering, kleptocracy, Russian […]

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Choose Your Weapon: Is civil forfeiture really necessary, or is it an undesirable shortcut to real law enforcement.

Choose Your Weapon: Is civil forfeiture really necessary, or is it an undesirable shortcut to real law enforcement.           Civil – or non-conviction-based – forfeiture is an increasingly common way for governments to relieve criminal wrongdoers of the proceeds of their crimes and to restore the property to the victims of the offense.  Led by […]

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Honeycutt v. United States: Supreme Court Overturns Decades of Criminal Forfeiture Law

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held on June 5, 2017, that the doctrine of Joint and Several Liability does not apply in criminal forfeiture cases, and that a defendant convicted of a conspiracy therefore is liable to forfeit only what he/she personally obtained, and not for the proceeds obtained by co-conspirators.  The following […]

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Why Civil Forfeiture is an Essential Tool

Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would severely curtail the Government’s ability to use civil forfeiture as a law enforcement tool by raising the burden of proof and imposing procedural roadblocks to filing civil forfeiture cases.  The legislation is motivated by the erroneous perception that civil forfeiture is used, almost exclusively, by state and local […]

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Cultural Property: Protecting Antiquities in Syria and Iraq

This is a link to a report prepared by the Government Accountability Office on the tools and resources available to the United States to assist in protecting cultural resources in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. Protection of Iraqi and Syrian Antiquities

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Statistical Report: DOJ Assets Forfeiture Fund

This is a link to the Justice Department’s Annual Report to Congress on the Assets Forfeiture Fund, including expenditures and deposits, as well as Official Use and Equitable Sharing activity.  The report contains links to similar data for each of the past 10 years. New this year is a five-year summary of trends in the […]

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Transcript of the Argument on Joint and Several Liability in Honeycutt

The Supreme Court heard argument on March 29, 2017 in Honeycutt v. United States, the case in which the Court will decide whether there is statutory authority to hold criminal defendants jointly and severally liable for the forfeiture of the proceeds of their offense, regardless of how much or how little each defendant personally obtained.   The […]

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Overview of the Money Laundering Statutes

This is a 63-page lecture outline prepared by Stef Cassella covering the elements of the money laundering statutes in title 31 and title 18 of the U.S Code.  It begins with the violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, 31 U.S.C. 5311, et seq, including the CTR, CMIR and Bulk Cash Smuggling statutes, and continues with […]

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Recent and Pending Decisions of the Supreme Court on Asset Forfeiture

Stef Cassella was invited to participate in an Inns of Court program in Washington DC to discuss the impact, going forward, of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Kaley and Luis which dealt with pre-trial restraining orders, its pending decision in Honeycutt which concerns joint and several liability in criminal forfeiture cases, and the views expressed by Justice Thomas that […]

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Unfairly Maligned: The Myths Surrounding the Kansas Civil Asset Forfeiture Debate

This article by Colin D. Wood and Gaten T. Wood discusses and answers the attacks that have been made on the use of civil asset forfeiture by state and local police agencies in Kansas.  It. appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association. Kansas article

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