Asset Forfeiture Report: Georgia


 


 
Grades*
Forfeiture
Law Grade

State Law Evasion Grade

 Final
Grade
Georgia

 

Forfeiture Law

Georgia has terrible civil forfeiture laws and uses equitable sharing extensively.  Under state law, depending on the property, the government need only establish probable cause or a preponderance of the evidence that the property was connected to illegal activity to forfeit it.  You bear the burden of showing that the property is not derived from illegal activity or that you are an innocent owner.  Even worse, law enforcement keeps 100 percent of the proceeds from any sales of seized property, which creates a strong incentive for law enforcement to seize property even in situations where it may not be warranted.  And public oversight is limited:  In response to requests, Georgia provided only one year of forfeiture data, for 2001.

These broad laws have led officials to abuse forfeiture—including for personal gain.  One sheriff in Georgia, for instance, used the funds raised through forfeiture to purchase a $90,000 sports car, supposedly to advertise an anti-drug program.  In 2008, a grand jury was tasked with trying to figure out if that expenditure was “appropriate.”[1]


1 The Sheriff’s Stash. (2008, July 12). The Economist, 388(8588), p. 42.

 



Press Releases and News

State Press Release

 

From the Report: Canine Sniffs Yield Unreliable Evidence for Forfeiture
 
From the Report: Extravagance with Forfeiture Funds in Camden County, Ga.  
 
From the Report: In Lamar County, Ga., "They had guns and badges and they just took it."
 
     



 
 


 

 

Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)

 

Total Assets
Forfeited

Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency

1993

$7,856,684

$48,937

1997

$26,022,402

$43,966

2000

$20,767,039

$37,996

2003

$38,330,861

$91,459

 

Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)

 

Proceeds Returned to State

FY 2000

$13,997,177

FY 2001

$11,476,049

FY 2002

$10,578,412

FY 2003

$10,113,910

FY 2004

$10,544,040

FY 2005

$13,852,774

FY 2006

$20,266,682

FY 2007

$23,866,060

FY 2008

$15,878,429

Total

$130,573,533

Average per Year

$14,508,170

 

Freedom of Information Data
Reports of forfeitures from judicial circuits 
 

2001

Currency

Property

Total

Forfeitures

$7,216,687

$888,732

$8,105,419



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