Steven L. Kessler’s article discussing the recent revisions to New York’s primary civil forfeiture statute was published in the New York Law Journal.

New York’s Major Revisions to the Civil Forfeiture Laws 2019 was an important year for civil forfeiture law in New York. This year, the Legislature enacted changes to the statute that should substantially reduce major areas of abuse. These changes, the first significant revisions to the statute since 1990, limit pretrial restraint to tainted property, restrict the use of money judgments, eliminate “common scheme […]

Applying the Brakes on a Runaway Train: Forfeiture and Recent Supreme Court Developments

Forfeiture. Miriam-Webster defines the word as”the act of forfeiting: the loss of property or money because of a breach of a legal obligation.”Relatively straightforward. But in the legal profession, it is the part of a client’s sentencing that turns some of the finest criminal defense attorneys into frightened first-year law students. Many flee the scene or inform the client to “Jet the property go” […]

The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000

By Steven L. Kessler On April 25, 2000, President Clinton signed into law The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (HR 1658), Pub. L. No. 106-185, 106th Cong. (2000), changing the face of federal civil forfeiture for the first time since the First Continental Congress.  The Act is a major step toward reforming the federal forfeiture system and applies to all forfeiture proceedings […]

And the House Said: Let There Be Justice, Forfeiture and H.R. 1658

On June 24, 1999, by a lopsided vote of 375 to 48, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1658, the first major revision bill to the federal laws of civil asset forfeiture in more than 30 years. The importance of the measure and the gravity of the wrongs being remedied is reflected in the unlikely and uncommon bedfellows who joined togther to overwhelmingly approve […]

Ferraris, Frangelica and Forfeiture, Oh My!

On February 22, 1999, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Saphir instituted a new initiative to forfeit the vehicles of motorists arrested for driving while intoxicated. Under the initiative, the City is utilizing Administrative Code §14-140, a dusty, 50+ year old section of the City code, to punish even first-time offenders and those arrested, but not convicted, of a crime. […]