Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PublicSource): Forfeiture Law Reformers See Allegheny County Policy as Model

Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a piece penned by Douglas J. Gluth of PublicSource urging Pennsylvania to fix civil asset forfeiture by adopting common sense reforms already in place in Allegheny County.

The piece references our work at Fix Forfeiture to reform the civil asset forfeiture system, quoting executive director Holly Harris explaining how the Keystone State’s forfeiture process impacts residents. “You take away that person’s car or sums of cash, you’re hurting their ability to live,” Ms. Harris said.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Seizures in Philadelphia County are carried out through civil laws. Allegheny County conducts its forfeitures through parallel laws in the criminal code, said Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney’s office.

“The majority of our forfeiture cases occur post-conviction,” Mr. Manko wrote in an email to PublicSource.

Judge Daniel R. Cashman, an administrative judge with 24 years’ experience in Allegheny County’s criminal court division, handles numerous cases annually where forfeiture is involved. Judge Cashman, like those actively involved in the reform efforts, said he believes forfeiting property not involved in a crime is unfair.

“We want to make sure somebody isn’t being unjustly punished,” he said.

Read the full story here.