Media Archive

[Updated on 03/03/02 by Leon Felkins; corrected 04/21/06]

Please send us newspaper clippings about forfeiture -- or your written summaries of articles. Be sure to include the name of the newspaper or magazine, etc., address of the publisher and publication date.  E-mail to for distribution over FEAR-List.  We cannot republish them on this website without permission from the publisher, but if you summarize the article and send it out over FEAR-List, we can post your summaries in other sections of this website.

The New York State Defenders Association has a web page that has many references to the problems the "authorities" are having with seizing people's cars. The page it titled Vehicle Forfeiture. An example topic: "Cars seized from drunk drivers under Nassau County policy have not sold as quickly as expected resulting in lost revenue." 10/23/2001

Karen Dillon's efforts to expose corruption associated with forfeiture gets praise in the article, "Exposing search and seizure abuse" by Issues & Views. (August 6, 2001)

The article, "Ninth Circuit Uphold Priority of Mortgage Over Federal Forfeiture Claim" by John C. Murray, is more of Murray's discussions of forfeiture from a lender's point of view. (2001)

The article, "Civil Asset Forfeiture Act Becomes Law", by John C. Murray, discusses CAFRA and discusses the impact on lenders and real estate owners. (2001)

Part of the legislative history of the CAFRA is on line at

I quote the Editor's Note:

The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 was signed into law by President Clinton on April 25, 2000. The following remarks by members of Congress are part of the legislative history of the bill and may be determinative when courts seek to interpret the new provisions.

The article, "Federal Asset Forfeiture Overview", by Steven M. Sucsy, Assistant United States Attorney is online at It provides a brief introduction to federal forfeiture law as it is today. For newcomers to the field, it gives a quick introduction to the business of taking the property of "bad people".

In his article, "Boy, do they ever want Trails End Ranch", Vin Suprynowicz tells of the government's obsession with stealing the "Trails End Ranch" that belonged to Donald Scott. At least it belonged to him until he was shot down in cold blood by the government thugs that invaded his home in the middle of the night 9 years ago. That effort to take the property has continued to this day. Apparently they have finally been successful using the "inheritance tax" scam. 9/2/2001

On March 13, 2001, Karen Dillon won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for her series in the Kansas City Star, on forfeiture abuse, "To Protect and Collect". We wish to thank her for all she has done for this important and rightful cause. You may send her mail at

The essay, "Kansas law enforcement officials oppose reform forfeiture bill", by Karen Dillon at the Kansas City Star, quotes the Law enforcement officials of Kansas telling the House Judiciary Committee that "if their agencies were not allowed to keep drug money, forfeitures could become extinct in Kansas.". Geez, now I'm really confused -- I thought their inspiration was winning the war on crime and that forfeiture was a great weapon. Are they saying that is not the reason they take all this property? Published on 3/12/01.

The Institute for Justice wins one in the fight against forfeiture; see "Victory in Civil Asset Forfeiture Case May Mean Greater Protection of Property Rights in New Jersey", January 19, 2001. For background, see "Policing & Prosecuting for Profit: New Jersey Ex-Sheriff Fights Civil Forfeiture Abuse", November 15, 2000. Also see IJ's "Litigation Backgrounder" for this case.

In "When Feds Say Seize and Desist", Insight Magazine, August 7, 2000, Kelly Patricia O’Meara discusses the passage of CAFRA and retells several horror stories to make the point of why it was necessary and why further reform is needed.

John Walsh writes about "Market Driven Criminal Justice: The Politics of Civil Asset Forfeiture" in the Volume 1, Number 2, Fall, 2000, issue of the Bloomington Bugle, Journal for Social Problems related to Crime, Law, and Justice. In it, he discusses the legislative activity resulting in the "Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act" (CAFRA), current at the time of the writing.

Karen Dillon of the Kansas City Star, updates her series on forfeiture abuse with a new series, "Taking Cash into Custody: A Special Report on Police and Drug Money Seizures", published 5/19/2000. This series displays the many devious ways that police and prosecutors get around the law or the intent of the law for their on selfish purposes. And why they so desperately fight any possibility of forfeiture reform!

MAP Inc. has created a special feature on their website which indexes newspaper articles on key topics, including asset forfeiture.  If they are accessed frequently they stay longer. This is an incredible new tool for researching new developments. Please note that the robot only looks for the word "forfeiture" -- some of the articles may only mention forfeiture in passing.   Map's asset forfeiture index page can be found at

The forfeiture situation in New Jersey, is described in the news article, "Keeping the law's long arm in check", by CHRISTOPHER MUMMA and DAVID VOREACOS, published by on April 24,2000 (to get this article, go to "The Record Search". In the search field, type in "forfeiture" and in the "Find articles that were published in" field, select "2000". Hit the Search button and the article should come up at the top of the list). According to the defense attorney, Miles Feinstein, "A lot of times, we use [forfeiture] as a negotiating tactic. They'll come down on time, and we'll agree to forfeiture of certain things."

"A STAFF REPORT ON S.1931, CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM ACT" by the Senate Judiciary Committee is well worth reading for its background content.

Karen Dillon of the Kansas City Star, concludes her first series of forfeiture articles with an extensive list of additional reports in "Updates to the Original Series". These reports, dating from Jan. 1999 to April 2000, cover everything from needed auditing of drug money slush funds to forfeiture reform legislation efforts.

This article, "Asset forfeiture case spurs debate", illustrates the horror of asset forfeiture and the "freezing" of assets. While Mr. Salah, has not been charged, his life is on hold. I quote:

Mr. Salah, meanwhile, is an American citizen who may not hold a job, spend his own money or sell his home without government permission.

"It's an Alice in Wonderland kind of existence," said Jonathan Rothstein, a Chicago attorney for Mr. Salah. "He's a nonperson."

Arkansas, an apt student of the Federal Government, is trying to do its share in relieving the citizens of any private property that may be "suspicious". See the series, by Chris Osher, originally published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, that ran in July, 1999.

"LII Backgrounder on Forfeiture" presents a legal background to federal forfeiture along with several good links to supporting material. (July 5, 1999)

The Kansas City Star starts a series of articles by Karen Dillon on Jan. 2, 1999, now available online as a Special Report. Ms Dillon's effort was centered around exposing the unscrupulous activities of the local police and prosecutors in thwarting the Missouri Law that prescribed that forfeiture profits would go to schools (instead of the cops and prosecutors). The local cops got around this law by getting the federal agencies to "adopt the forfeitures.

More horror stories about forfeiture are told by Lawrence W. Reed in his article, "Asset Forfeiture Run Amok", Reprinted with permission from The Freeman, a publication of The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., November 1998, Vol. 48, No. 11

Florida bucks the trend in government forfeiture activity. The Naples Daily News reports on February 26, 1998, "[Florida Supreme] Court rules police must get warrant before seizing property".

The scope of Forfeiture grows: The Feds seize a motel in Houston! See this 2/17/1998 Houston Chronicle report, "No vacancy for drug dealers: Feds seize hotel". Also see, "FORFEIT: U.S. attorney here overstepped bounds in motel seizure".

Of the more than $1.5 billion worth of stuff seized by the Feds annually, a few have four legs and breath -- as recounted by the 12/31/97 issue of the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Long arm of the law collars animal assets". More here.

Protected Witness, by Bill Moushey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 26-31, 1996. The series shows how "the federal witness protection program often gives freedom and riches to heinous criminals, many of whom will say anything about anyone to get free. Once in the program, some can't resist the temptation of returning to the criminal life." Protected witnesses often receive immunity from forfeiture of their ill-gotten gains, the series shows. It also shows that government officials frequently make deals with the bigger fish in order to get the smaller ones. Part I of the series is available on this website. How to order a reprint of the entire series.

Asset Forfeiture by Susan Meeker-Lowry, Z Magazine, January 1996.

The story of how Mr. Hosep Bajakajian attempts to get back his own money that was seized by the government is report by the November 05, 1997 issue of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Update: Mr. Bajakajian took his case to the U.S. Supreme court and received a historical decision in his favor. For a complete time line of this case, go to James E. Blatt's "Time Line of Events: United States v. Bajakajian". Mr. Blatt successfully defended Mr. Bajakajian.

The August 12, 1997 issue of the Detroit News reports on how Oakland lustfully considers a plan for increased Forfeiture of the assets of drug dealers in the article, "Oakland prosecutor's drug forfeiture plan would lead to abuse, critics say". Texas would also like to get a piece of the action as described in a Tulsa World editorial, "Stopping the Drunks ", 1/24/98

Pittsburgh Press, "Presumed Guilty: The Law's Victims In The War On Drugs", by Andrew Schneider & Mary Pat Flaherty, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, August 11 - December 22, 1991.  The entire Presumed Guilty series is republished on this website, with permission from the authors.

Bibliography of Newspaper Articles About Forfeiture, compiled by John Paff, 7/25/95