Utah Asset Forfeiture - Release: 6-23-2003
News Conference By Institute for Justice:
Ending "Prosecution for Profit" in Utah—Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State’s Civil Forfeiture Law
9:30 a.m./Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Scott Bullock, Senior Attorney,
Institute for Justice
Utahns for Property Protection
Maxwell A. Miller, Esq.
Parsons Behle & Latimer
John Kramer, Vice President for Communications
Lisa Knepper, Director of Communications
Institute for Justice, (703) 682-9320
Utah law enforcement officials are flagrantly violating the law. That is why on Tuesday, June 24, 2003, Utah citizens, represented by the Institute for Justice, will file papers with the state’s attorney general to hold those officials accountable.
In 2000, Utah voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative B, which overhauled the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Prior to Initiative B, law enforcement agencies were permitted to profit directly from forfeited property and proceeds. Initiative B ended these perverse incentives and encouraged law enforcement agencies to enforce the law fairly and equitably. Unfortunately, the district attorneys of Weber, Salt Lake and Davis counties stubbornly refuse to abide by Initiative B. Prosecutors from those counties have thus far diverted nearly a quarter of a million dollars in forfeiture funds into their own accounts rather than to the Utah’s Uniform School Trust Fund, as required under Initiative B.
In the face of such unlawful behavior, on June 24, 2003, Utah citizens will begin to fight back.
Represented by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, Utahans for Property Protection, along with other Utah citizens, will announce their plans to end the unlawful behavior of the district attorneys and to secure the return of the misappropriated funds.