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Police Seize $107,000 From Married Couple Without Charging Them For A Crime.

Adam and Jennifer Perry were pulled over in Henry County, Illinois, for speeding, and cops recovered more than $107,000 from the married Massachusetts couple, whom they first suspected of a crime. Despite this, no charges were ever made, even years after the seizure. Nonetheless, the couple’s money, which they allege was acquired legitimately, has not been recovered due to civil forfeiture laws.

According to the Dispatch-Argus, after pulling them over for a routine traffic check, Illinois cops used a K-9 unit to search the couple’s Toyota Tundra and discovered a bag containing $102,000 in cash. Jennifer’s wallet included an additional $5,520. Despite the fact that no narcotics were discovered, authorities accused the Perrys of illegal behavior and took their money as well as their vehicle.

The Perrys, who were on their way to a doctor’s appointment in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Adam was scheduled to visit a hearing expert, claimed that they had done nothing wrong. They stated that the funds were obtained through insurance settlements, vehicle sales, personal income, disability benefits, and other legitimate sources.

The Perrys were finally released after hours of interrogation but no proof of a crime. They utilised civil forfeiture legislation, though, to keep every dollar in the truck, as well as the vehicle itself and Mrs. Perry’s wedding rings, without having to pursue a single charge, based only on the suspicion that the money and vehicle were linked to illicit behavior.

Years later, the Perrys were still battling for their property when a federal judge ordered the couple to prove how they obtained the money. Adam Perry, on the other hand, said that not only had he and his wife previously supplied an answer, but that they shouldn’t have to demonstrate their innocence. Rather, it should be up to the cops and prosecutors to show guilt. Regrettably, that is not how civil forfeiture works.

This is not Nazi Germany where one can treat humans like this, Mr. Perry said to the federal judge in a letter. One should accept his as innocent until proven guilty and not refuse him counsel, Adam continued. He even pleaded and said please just give him his truck back and they can have the money and he’ll walk away from it. It’s still denied, he said. One have no idea how much mental, physical, and financial terrorism one have created.

The judge was not convinced. After four years of legal wrangling, a federal court approved the government’s plea to preserve the cash discovered in the Ashburnham, Massachusetts, couple’s vehicle during a traffic check. Judge Sara Darrow of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois stated the couple failed to address inquiries about where the monies originated from, as she approved the petition to permanently award the funds to the government.

The federal civil forfeiture program, also known as civil asset forfeiture, civil judicial forfeiture, or civil seizure, is a contentious legal process in which law enforcement officers seize assets from people suspected of involvement in crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners.

Wikipedia notes that while civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, normally includes a disagreement between two private persons, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between police enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the object is accused of being implicated in a crime. In order to reclaim confiscated property, owners must demonstrate that it was not involved in illegal activity.

Across several administrations, it has been a passionately disputed topic, with the legislation and its monitoring frequently changing. Due to misuse, the practice of “adoptive forfeiture,” which happens when a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property under state law and requests that a federal agency acquire the confiscated item and forfeit it under federal law, was discontinued in 2015.

According to Wikipedia, while states continued to reduce police seizure powers, measures by the Justice Department in July 2017 aimed to reestablish police seizure powers in order to boost financing for federal agencies and local law enforcement.


Proponents consider civil forfeiture as a potent instrument to stop criminal groups participating in the illicit drug trade, with $12 billion yearly revenues, because it permits police to take cash and other assets from narcotics trafficking, Wiki says.

They also argue that it is an accurate way because it enables law enforcement agencies to use the seized proceeds to combat illegal activity, that is, directly converting the value obtained from illegal items for law enforcement purposes by economically harming criminals while financially benefiting law enforcement.

Of course, critics say that honest owners might become enmeshed in the process to the point that their right to property is infringed, with minimal legal protections and due process standards to protect them in cases where they are deemed guilty rather than presumed innocent, as Wiki notes. Moreover, opponents contend that the incentives encourage corruption and bad behavior by law enforcement. There is agreement that abuses have occurred, but there is dispute over the scale of the abuses and whether the overall benefits to society outweigh the cost of the instances of abuse.

Although the program’s merits are debatable, and the Perrys’ guilt or innocence is unclear, it appears that the Perrys became caught in the contentious process, and that their rights were infringed as guilt was presumed and they were left with the responsibility of establishing their innocence.

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