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States Target Policing for Profit

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Cops on motorcycles

Credit: Will Marlow,
CC BY-NC 2.0

by Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

From coast to coast, states are tackling legislation that would protect property owners from abuses of a system that has become known as policing for profit.

Some of the states have seen success with that strategy. But, opponents of the tool known as civil asset forfeiture are also taking their battles to federal courtrooms.

Last week, lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and Perkins Coie filed a lawsuit against top officials in Pinal County, Ariz. — including the county’s attorneys, court officials and law enforcement officers — for its abuse of the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

The ACLU and Perkins Coie are representing Rhonda Cox, a 10-year resident of Arizona whose truck was seized through civil asset forfeiture in 2013 after her son—who was borrowing the vehicle at the time—was arrested for theft.

Cox attempted to fight the forfeiture to get back her truck and the tools stored inside it, but eventually decided to give up on her efforts after she received an email from Deputy Pinal County Attorney Craig Cameron warning her that if she lost in court, Cox would be required to pay the state’s lawyers’ fees, as is required under Arizona law.

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© 2015 The Heritage Foundation

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