A federal challenge to D.C.’s suspect post and forfeit beast
In 2007, I blogged about Washington, D.C.’s post and forfeit maze. Post and forfeit generally is a procedure to end a criminal proceeding by paying a legal civil bribe, I mean dollar amount.
The post and forfeit culture invites both abuse and benefits. When police arrest hundreds of demonstrators during a weekend, they at once have, often, deprived them of their First Amendment free expression rights and also raised the possibility of thousands of dollars in civil post and forfeiture revenue. That is the bad part of post and forfeit. Post and forfeit can be beneficial, though, when police make a legitimate arrest without thoughts of post and forfeit, and when the prosecutor offers post and forfeit where the risks are otherwise high of a criminal conviction.
Thanks to the listserv member who posted about a current federal lawsuit against D.C.’s post and forfeit law. Curiously, the suit was filed by an assistant bar counsel who was arrested for disorderly conduct, and accepted the post and forfeit option.