Why Was That House Seized?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Isaiah Thompson, investigative reporter, explains how authorities can seize assets like houses and cars under "civil forfeiture" laws, even when the person may not have been convicted or even charged with a crime - a practice that disproportionately affects poor and minority property owners.



Isaiah Thompson

Comments [12]

Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RUCB_Alum

The only way to be anomalous is to stay anonymous ... "they" don't care for anti-authoritarianism nowadays.

Jun. 04 2014 11:45 AM

@Mr. Bad from NYC

You and I have *probably* been listening to TBLS so long that we can tell which segments were produced to be timely, which are just marketing for a new book or article, which originated because of networking ("I know a guy at WNYC...", and which are taking a deep dive into a topic that is far more nuanced than radio usually has time to cover.

If we could sculpt it ourselves, it would certainly have far different content. (but also fewer listeners!) My local station, WCTC-AM is playing Laura Ingraham right now...and I am not joking when I say I prefer oral surgery to her goose-honking non-thought.

Jun. 04 2014 11:36 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It's also a segment which is representative of the sort of toothless, worthless reporting that goes on @ WNYC. A species of "Oh, Dearism" where the point of the segment is so that some "Progressive" will have something to talk about to their "concerned" friends, i.e. "Oh dear, I just heard that the police have been stealing property from the poors and the blacks, isn't that awful?" "Oh, yes, awful, pass the toast points please".

When you have an issue like this prepare some useful information to go along with it, maybe that "diverse listening audience" you claim to have will actually show up for a change.

Jun. 04 2014 11:35 AM
JesseLemisch from upper west side

On WNYC this morning, Brian Lehrer had a segment on forfeiture, the seizure
of money and property from suspected drug dealers, that is, without
conviction It's a totally
unconstitutional process. When I was on the faculty of John Jay College of
Criminal Justice 1988-2000, President Gerry Lynch boasted repeatedly that
the funding for the spectacular new John Jay building at 59th and Eleventh
Avenue came not from the state budget but rather through forfeiture. This
past weekend thousands of us schmoozed and attended Left Forum sessions in
the building constructed with such funds. Criminal Justice, indeed.

JJ President Jeremy Travis addressed a plenary session (including Stanley
Aronowitz and Cornel West), welcoming us and presenting himself as a Friend
to the Left. A few years back, I had a correspondence with him about John
Jay's total silence on the barbarities committed by NYPD.

(For this and the above, see my "What are Leftists Thinking?" (their

John Jay has a fine faculty. But the institution itself is totally cozy with
NYPD and, as I have pointed out, is built on illegally seized property.

Jesse Lemisch

Jun. 04 2014 11:23 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RUCB_Alum

I was joking. We all know that that would be a disaster... My point is that asset forfeiture is a legal process, why do you have some stupid journalist on to explain it? Why not a Journalist who covers legal matters or even a JD from CL? God knows there are plenty who would jump on it... If you want someone to "report" an event (car crash/bridge jumper/traffic accident) you don't need a real deep bench but if you're going to purport to report on these more complex and important issues get a journalist who has more on the ball than penny ante punditry.

Jun. 04 2014 11:11 AM
Mitch from Park Slope

The question that nobody seems to be asking is WHY Hynes went to these lengths to get reelected. I believe he was horrified about what could come out if he wasn't reelected. How he ran this campaign is just the tip of the iceberg.

You should look back at the case of Judge John Phillips who was a judge with a fine record who ran against Hynes some years ago. He was declared incompetent by Hynes' cronies who stripped him of all of his assets, (including 10 million in real estate assets), and had him held against his will in two "nursing homes" until his death.

I'm sure that a simple google search would give you all you need to ascertain the veracity of this. It is astonishing how much can be exposed in the newspapers of our city, and other periodicals, and still nothing gets done when it comes to machine politics in Brooklyn.

When he announced against Hynes, Judge Phillips managed to fall into a political crony/corrupt judges conspiracy that functioned like a machine to strip assets from the elderly. The eminence of Judge Phillips was enough to expose the corruption of the DA/Hynes' judicial cronies complex, but Judge Phillips was still held as a virtual prisoner until his death and, (as far as I know), the estate stripping of the elderly operation continued unabated.

Mitch (extremely long time listener)

Jun. 04 2014 11:09 AM

Mr. Bad as the guest....not a bad idea. How 'bout a segment where you point the mike at your audience. fuva, jgarbuz, Mr. Bad, even Martin C...The unifying thread? Are WNYC listeners biased...Or more properly how biased are WNYC bloggers. You could even have Jody offer some feedback on what it's like to herd the cats.

Jun. 04 2014 10:35 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Remember that you should not ignore the initial hearing before the Administrative law judge, that is the chance to get your property back ASAP and the police have to show that 1) There was probable cause to arrest you 2) They are likely to prevail in a civil forfeiture action and 3)It is necessary to retain the property to prevent it's use for illegal activity or retain for forfeiture proceedings in future.

The police have a VERY HIGH burden, get a lawyer if you can, and if you miss the hearing appeal IMMEDIATELY or you will permanently lose your right to do so.

Here you go:

Jun. 04 2014 10:31 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Why don't you have a guest who KNOWS something about the process in NYC? Sh*t I should be the guest. The process if called a CPLR 13-A proceeding. Here is a good overview of the practice:

If this has happened to you you need to IMMEDIATELY file an Administrative Appeal.

Jun. 04 2014 10:17 AM
Nancy from NYC

Did you notice how asset forfeiture became more prevalent at the time (in the early 80s) Reagan amped up the so-called War on Drugs AND slashed government spending -- making local and state governments desperate for funding, and giving them the means to extract money and property from alleged drug wrong-doers?

Jun. 04 2014 10:15 AM
john from office

How about not allowing your relative to deal drugs from your home. Again Brian has a segment that points out some heartbreaking tale and not the vast majority of cases where the law is properly applied.

The NYC Housing Authority has this issue when it evicts people who deal drugs from their NYCHA apartments.

Note the guest's use of the words "so-called"

Jun. 04 2014 10:10 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

If the ex-Brooklyn D.A., allegedly felt comfortable enough, to use $200,000 of forfeited money for his own personal campaign use. I doubt it's the first time he has done it.

Jun. 04 2014 10:10 AM

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