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Crime File: Drugs - Asset Seizure

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Following a segment that describes the implementation of drug asset forfeiture law in Broward County, Fla., this video presents a panel discussion of the pros and cons of forfeiture law.
Moderator James Wilson explains asset forfeiture as the government's seizing of any asset of a defendant which it believes to have been involved in the commission of the alleged crime or to have been obtained with the fruit of the crime. Assets may be seized prior to trial, and upon conviction, the offender has the burden of proving by the preponderance of the evidence that the asset was not associated with the crime. Ronald Goldstock, Director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, and Peter Ronstadt, chief of the Tucson Police Department (Arizona), support asset forfeiture as an effective law enforcement tool to undermine the ongoing operations of drug enterprises. It also has the advantage of providing resources for law enforcement to use in drug law enforcement. Gerald Lefcourt, defense attorney from New York City, criticizes the current procedure for implementing asset forfeiture. He favors the use of traditional civil procedures, whereby the assets could not be seized unless the government proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the assets qualify for seizure.

Date Published: January 1, 1990