Civil forfeiture threatens the property rights of all Americans.
These laws allow the police to seize your home, car, cash or other property upon the mere suspicion that it has been used or involved in criminal activity.
Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country. But, in an attempt to at least ensure civil forfeiture is subject to public scrutiny, state law requires local law enforcement agencies to annually itemize and report all property obtained through forfeiture, and what they did with it, to their local governing authorities.
Amazingly, many, perhaps most, local law enforcement agencies simply fail to issue these forfeiture reports. For these agencies, their forfeiture proceeds are “off budget” slush funds shielded from public view. The Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County Police Department, and Fulton County Sheriff all regularly fail to produce mandated forfeiture reports.
This concerns Georgia citizens, including Ryan Van Meter, Anna Cuthrell, Joseph Kidd, Josiah Neff and Tsvetelin Tsonevski, all taxpaying residents of Atlanta and Fulton County. They have filed a lawsuit to force the head officers of these three local law enforcement agencies to disclose all of the property they have seized under applicable Georgian forfeiture statues along with how they have utilized that property, preventing that property from becoming a slush fund. The issue of the case is not complicated: Law enforcement should follow the law.