Over four years, the law enforcement agencies of Contra Costa County seized $1.1M from people accused of crimes but never charged. Of the nearly $3.5M million taken as part of the Contra Costa’s asset forfeiture practice — a means of financially hamstringing criminal investigation targets — $1.2 million was related to cannabis charges.
- Asset forfeiture has been a feature of the law enforcement landscape since 1982, when the War on Drugs was merely a toddling menace. The Obama administration backed off on the practice, but former Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated it a “key” law enforcement tool and brought new energy to seizing the accused assets.
- Contra Costa deputy public defender Jeff Landau called asset forfeiture a predatory practice that “should have ended here a long time ago.” He told the Mercury News, “Simply put, it’s wrong for the government to take people’s property without first proving they’ve broken the law.”
- Last year. Contra Costa prosecutors petitioned to keep $57,588 in cash from people not charged with crimes.