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Good news: Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday barred state and local police from using federal law to seize any private property unless an actual crime is being committed.
Holder’s decision allows some limited exceptions, including illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography, a small fraction of the total. This would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the program. While police can continue to make seizures under their own state laws, the federal program was easy to use and required most of the proceeds from the seizures to go to local and state police departments. Many states require seized proceeds to go into the general fund.
A Justice official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the attorney general’s motivation, said Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”
As much as I think Holder has been a dishonest and corrupt attorney general who has used his power to attack his political opponents, this decision by him should be lauded highly. It was the right thing to do.