Asset Forfeiture Report: Missouri


 


 
Grades*
Forfeiture
Law Grade

State Law Evasion Grade

 Final
Grade
Missouri

 

Forfeiture Law
Missouri law makes it very easy for law enforcement to forfeit property, but it strictly limits agencies’ ability to profit from forfeitures under state law.  The weakest part of Missouri’s law is requiring the government to show only reasonable cause to believe property is related to a crime to forfeit it.  That is the lowest legal standard, akin to the probable cause required for a search warrant, and much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard the government must meet for a criminal conviction.  Moreover, owners are presumed guilty:  When property is seized and an innocent owner has an interest in the property, the owner must intervene in the forfeiture proceedings and show he did not have actual knowledge of the criminal activity.  However, Missouri is one of only eight states where law enforcement receives none of the funds from forfeiture; all accrue to the local education system.  This is a significant protection for owners, but the data from Missouri suggests that law enforcement still engages in forfeiture, seizing more than $34 million from 2001 to 2008.

A key incentive to continued use of forfeiture in Missouri may be federal equitable sharing.  After an investigative report in the Kansas City Star, Missouri lawmakers were awakened to a major problem that plagues other states that limit the ability of law enforcement to profit from forfeiture: federal adoption of forfeiture proceedings and equitable sharing arrangements.  By 1999, more than 85 percent of forfeited property was funneled through this loophole. 



Press Releases and News

State Press Release

 

From the Report: Canine Sniffs Yield Unreliable Evidence for Forfeiture
 
   
   
     



 
 


 

 

Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)

 

Total Assets
Forfeited

Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency

1993

$6,756,915

$69,839

1997

$10,131,477

$15,070

2000

$7,852,960

$14,894

2003

$4,565,135

$6,973

 

Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)

 

Proceeds Returned to State

FY 2000

$8,179,698

FY 2001

$4,979,750

FY 2002

$4,079,649

FY 2003

$4,781,175

FY 2004

$6,024,911

FY 2005

$8,546,529

FY 2006

$9,479,687

FY 2007

$10,667,509

FY 2008

$10,461,755

Total

$67,200,663

Average per Year

$7,466,740

 

Freedom of Information Data

Reports of forfeitures from prosecuting attorneys and attorney general

 

Pending

Returned

Transferred to Federal Agency

Transferred to State

Disposition not
Reported

Other

Total

2001

$1,559,080

$1,100,845

$498,373

$225,921

$268,754

$300

$3,653,273

2002

$2,171,488

$1,038,313

$1,372,961

$232,848

$349,143

$1,802

$5,166,555

2003

$1,897,115

$720,269

$342,880

$210,340

$71,233

$23,089

$3,264,926

2004

$1,212

$893,546

$669,331

$45,273

$12,953

$112,467

$1,734,782

2005

$2,307,302

$386,285

$1,272,420

$71,225

$0

$1,653

$4,038,885

2006

$1,591,228

$664,158

$2,810,763

$83,038

$51,942

$14,446

$5,215,575

2007

$1,464,990

$674,253

$2,028,673

$74,461

$248,730

$13,914

$4,505,021

2008

$1,377,108

$179,582

$5,183,935

$58,532

$83,979

$0

$6,883,136

Total

$12,369,523

$5,657,251

$14,179,336

$1,001,638

$1,086,734

$167,671

$34,462,153

Average per Year

$1,546,190

$707,156

$1,772,417

$125,205

$135,842

$20,959

$4,307,769



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