Can't Take My Home

A fan (yes, it seems that I have at least one fan - I'm not sure if he wanted his name posted or not, so I'll leave it to him to take credit in the comments if he wants it), sent me this news story out of Boulder City, Nevada.

It seems that the city attorney is attempting to use civil forfeiture to take the home of a 55-year-old woman who pleaded no contest to possessing six marijuana plants, a misdemeanor.

This is pretty amazing. The district attorney couldn't prove anything beyond the misdemeanor marijuana possession, but the city attorney is making this woman out to be a big time dealer in order to take her home.

According to the article:
Some civil forfeiture laws limit government confiscations to property purchased with criminal proceeds. But Nevada law allows authorities to also seize property merely used in the commission of a suspected crime.

My jurisdiction allows for similar forfeiture. Mostly we see car forfeiture in DWI cases. Occasionally, there is cash forfeiture in other types of cases (drug sales, identity theft, forgery, etc.)

I've never seen a home forfeiture in any kind of case. Granted, however, very few of my clients own homes. One issue I see from time to time is clients at risk of losing their public housing - and that doesn't even require that the crime was committed in that housing. But it is mostly just a threat, I think that out of the over one thousand cases I've handled, only one has had any later problems with HUD.

As far as cars, most of my clients are able to get their cars back after they pay some hefty fines and/or agree to complete a driver safety course. I'd like to know how much the state is making in this system.

Anyway, read the article, feel free to get infuriated, and I'll keep an eye out for any follow-up on the story.

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