criminal law reform project

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/hemporg/public_html/news/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 34.

Arizona: ACLU Challenges Asset Forfeiture Laws

IWantYourMoneyJewelryCarBoatAndHouseUncleSam

Under Unconstitutional System, Sheriff and County Attorney Take People’s Property and Use Profits for Salaries, Overtime, Retirement Funds, More

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, and the law firm Perkins Coie on Wednesday filed suit against the sheriff and county attorney of Pinal County, Arizona, for their enforcement of the state's civil asset forfeiture laws.

Law enforcement used this scheme against Rhonda Cox, a county resident, to seize and keep her truck, violating her constitutional rights. After Cox, an innocent owner, filed a claim to get her truck back, the county attorney’s office informed her that if she pursued her claim and lost, not only would she lose her truck, but the state’s forfeiture laws would require her to pay the county’s attorneys’ fees and investigation costs, an amount that would exceed the value of her truck.

Since she couldn’t risk so much financial loss, Cox was forced to abandon her efforts to retrieve her truck.

“Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws gave Pinal County license to steal from Rhonda Cox,” said Emma Andersson, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “That would be bad enough, but those laws also made it impossible for her to have a fair shot at challenging that theft in court.

"The county robbed Rhonda twice: first they took her truck, then they took her day in court,” Andersson said.

Massachusetts: ACLU Win Protects Thousands In Cases From Drug Lab Scandal

MassachusettsDrugLabScandalAnnieDoohan40,323

State High Court Ruling Provides Safe Harbor for Those Who Challenge Wrongful Convictions Based on Tainted Evidence from the Hinton State Drug Lab

The highest court in Massachusetts on Monday provided a safe harbor for thousands of people with tainted convictions stemming from Annie Dookhan's misconduct at the Hinton state drug lab.

In a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project, and Foley Hoag LLP on behalf of three individuals affected by the lab scandal, the Supreme Judicial Court issued a sweeping defense of due process, ruling that people may challenge their wrongful convictions without fear of retaliation by prosecutors.

"Today's decision is a profound victory for tens of thousands of people who were denied due process by misconduct at the Hinton Lab, and for anyone who has a stake in the integrity of the Commonwealth's criminal justice system," said Matthew R. Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "For years, many of Annie Dookhan's victims have worried that challenging their tainted convictions could subject them to even harsher convictions and sentences.

"Many others did not even know that they could challenge their convictions in court, because public officials neither identified all of Dookhan's cases nor directly notified her victims," Segal said. "In a sense, many people did not know how to find the courthouse doors, and many others were too afraid to knock.

Syndicate content