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Asset Forfeiture
Oregon Capitol1999 Annual Report of the Asset

Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee
 
by Meredith Bliss, Research Analyst,
Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.

Please see the Contact Information page for address and phone numbers.


 
Please note that information on this page is current as of the date of publication of this report, 31 March 2000. It has not and will not be updated to reflect changes in practice, law, or policy. Please refer to the Asset Forfeiture Home Page for current information.



Presented to:
Senate President Brady Adams
Speaker of the House Lynn Snodgrass
Governor John A. Kitzhaber, MD
Attorney General Hardy Myers
March 31, 2000

Contents:
HISTORY
ACCOUNTING DATA
COMMITTEE PROCESS
ASSET DISTRIBUTION
REPORTING PROCESS
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
USE OF PROCEEDS
SEIZURE DATA
COMMITTEE PROGRESS
DISPOSITIONAL DATA
LOOKING AHEAD
AGENCIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND ADVISORY BODIES THAT ADDRESS FORFEITURE-RELATED ISSUES


HISTORY
The 1989 Oregon legislature enacted a comprehensive civil forfeiture statute to capture revenue from narcotics transactions which otherwise escape taxation, and to use that revenue to improve government response to drug related prohibited conduct. This law provides for forfeiture of properties used in or related to drug crimes. 1989 Oregon Laws, Chapter 791, later codified as ORS Chapter 475A, further describes how seized assets will be handled, conditions for disbursal of funds received through liquidation of forfeited assets and return of assets to claimants if found not to be used as described above.
 
The Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee (AFOAC) was created to aid the legislature in determining the effect of the law and the manner in which it was being applied. The Committee prepares "reports detailing the number and nature of forfeitures carried out" under this law. In order to gather information to be used in preparing these reports to the legislature, the committee met regularly from October 1991 to April 1994. Report forms to be completed by forfeiture counsel were developed. These forms were used to gather information regarding seizure data and the distribution of forfeited assets as they related to specific cases. Completed forms were sent to the Legislative Counsel´s (LC) office where they were entered into a database, as time allowed. As a result of the burden placed on LC staff, data were not entered after 1995.
 
In 1997, the legislature repealed the sunset provision of the forfeiture law, provided staff for the AFOAC and directed the AFOAC to review the reporting process. Funding for AFOAC staff comes from state and local forfeiture proceeds. These funds allowed the creation of one .5 FTE to serve as committee staff. This position was filled in April 1998 and is staffed out of the Criminal Justice Commission by a Research Analyst 2.
 
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COMMITTEE PROCESS
The committee met in June 1998 for the first time since April 1994. Representative Rob Patridge currently chairs the committee. Senator Avel Gordly serves as vice-chair. The committee is made up of 12 members, three each appointed by the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Governor and Attorney General. During the 1999 Legislative Session, Representatives Roger Beyer and Gary Hansen were appointed by the Speaker of the House to replace Representatives Floyd Prozanski and Larry Wells. Until this time, Representative Prozanski had been serving as chair of this committee. Senator Eileen Qutub, who had been serving as Vice-Chair, was elected to succeed Representative Prozanski until new terms for the legislative members of the committee began in January 2000.


AFOAC Committee Membership
Senate AppointmentsHouse Appointments
Sen. Eileen QutubRep. Gary Hansen
Sen. Avel Gordly* - Vice ChairRep. Roger Beyer
Sen. Veral TarnoRep. Rob Patridge-Chair
Governor AppointmentsAttorney General Appointments
Dave Fidanque, Oregon ACLU*Tim Colahan, Harney County District Attorney
Susie Penhollow, Deschutes CountyRick Lewis, Silverton Police Chief*
Paul Loving, Attorney in private practiceMichelle Burrows, Defense Attorney
* Members of Reporting Subcommittee
Professional affiliations of the Governor and Attorney General appointments are provided for identification purposes only. These members serve at the request of the appointing authority and are not representing any private interest.
 
The committee meets at the call of the chair and has met numerous times since its initial meeting in June 1998. Through these meetings, it became apparent that the reporting process needed to be revised. A reporting subcommittee was formed to look at issues surrounding the forfeiture reporting process. Under the leadership of Senator Avel Gordly, who chairs the reporting subcommittee, new report forms were developed and presented to the full committee for adoption.
 
The new reporting process went into effect on March 1, 1999 and captures information for all cases with a judgment date on or after March 1. In developing the forms that are currently in use, the reporting subcommittee received input from forfeiture counsel, law enforcement, local government fiscal officers and private citizens. Forms collected for cases with judgment prior to March 1, 1999 have been archived.
 
As required by ORS 475A.120 (3) and 475A.125 (9) forfeiture counsels submit forms detailing seizure information for all forfeiture cases regardless of outcome. For cases where agencies realized gross receipts of $10,000.00 or more a form is submitted outlining the distribution of proceeds. All local government agencies that have reported forfeitures during the year are required to send in an Annual Report that outlines how forfeiture proceeds were expended by their agency in their most recent fiscal year. Additionally, a form was created for agencies to use when remitting payment for the Asset Forfeiture Fund. This form captures the contribution amount per case as well as noting those cases where costs were not reimbursed by forfeiture proceeds.
 
In addition to the new report forms, instructions were drafted to aid in completion of the forms. This was the first time since the reporting requirement has been in place that written instructions have been provided to the agencies responsible for completing the forms. While many forfeiture counsel feel there could still be improvements, they have been supportive of the current changes to the reporting process.
 
This report details forfeiture information received by the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee on or before December 31, 1999 for cases where final judgment was entered on or after March 1, 1999.
 
The following information is based on 1,064 seizures reported by 51 law enforcement agencies. While staff has made every effort to ensure that the data is accurate and uniform, the information is only as complete as that which was provided by the forfeiting agency. Due to the nature of forfeiture proceedings, not all categories will equal the total number of cases. Unlike a criminal proceeding, the property that has been seized is the defendant in the forfeiture proceeding, and the property owner is the claimant. As there are often multiple defendants in the forfeiture proceeding it is possible to have multiple claimants associated with a single seizure. It is also possible for claims to be filed on part of the property that has been seized.


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REPORTING PROCESS
Of the 1,064 reported seizures, 63 percent involved currency only. Another 15 percent involved seizure of a conveyance. Real property was only seized in three percent of the cases.
 
In addition to requiring the AFOAC to prepare an annual report detailing the number and nature of forfeitures, the statute requires that the committee consult with forfeiture counsel to review and, if necessary, to modify the reporting process to ensure that the necessary information for oversight is being obtained and is gathered in an effective and efficient manner. As noted earlier in this report, as a result of this consultation the committee implemented a new reporting process in March 1999. The new process reduced the information requested from law enforcement agencies, eliminated the requirement to file reports on seizures involving less than $10,000 of assets and modified the information received to ensure it would allow valid analysis.
 
Testimony provided by forfeiture counsel affirms that the new reporting process is less cumbersome and has eased the burden placed on them in meeting this statutory requirement.
 
The committee also surveyed persons who complete the new reporting forms. Results of the survey indicate that most individuals find the forms easier to understand and the written instructions to be helpful. In completing the forms, the majority of respondents find that they are less time consuming.


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SEIZURE DATA
Suspected Marijuana, Methamphetamine or a combination of controlled substances was the basis for 62 percent of the reported seizures.
 
The types of property seized for forfeiture are divided into five classifications: conveyance, currency, real property, weapons and other personal property. For purposes of this reporting, currency is defined to include any negotiable instrument of US currency, including travelers checks and money orders, balance in deposit or other accounts and securities. Currency does not include coin collections or foreign currency. These instruments are considered as other personal property. Sixty-three percent of the seizures involved currency only, while real property was involved in only three percent of the seizures. The following table indicates the type of property that was seized and the suspected controlled substances involved with the seizure.
 
SEIZURE DATA
Property / Drugs:
Amphet-
amine
Cocaine
Crack
Cocaine
Heroin
Mari-
juana
Metham-
phetamine
Meth.
Precursor
Other
Known
Unknown
Combi-
nation
Total
Conveyance281099150001164
Currency86777901311351542119675
Real Property00006000028
Weapons00002200015
Other Personal Property110168000421
Conveyance/Currency25121115210113098
Conveyance/Currency/Other0414580001537
Conveyance/Currency/Real Property00000100001
Conveyance/Currency/Real Property/Other00001000001
Conveyance/Currency/Real Property/Weapons/Other00001000023
Conveyance/Currency/
Weapons
00001000001
Conveyance/Currency/
Weapons/Other
010235000415
Conveyance/Other01110200027
Conveyance/Weapons/Other00010200003
Conveyance/Currency/
Real Property/Weapons
00001000001
Currency/Other256811141011765
Currency/Real Property00000100001
Currency/Real Property/
Other
00001000001
Currency/Weapons130048000723
Currency/Weapons/Other110020000610
Currency/Real Property/
Weapons/Other
00002100003
Real Property/Other00104000005
Real Property/Weapons00001000001
Real Property/
Weapons/Other
00002000002
Weapons/Other00001300037
Total179610812720922626452281064
 
ORS 475A.005 (11) defines prohibited conduct for purposes of forfeiture under this law as inclusive of violation of, solicitation to violate, attempt to violate or conspiracy to violate any provisions of ORS 475.005 to 475.825 and 475.805 to 475.999 when the conduct constitutes either a felony or misdemeanor as those terms are defined in ORS 161.525 and 161.545.
 
Sixty five percent of the total seizures are on the basis of suspected possession and delivery activity.
 
The following information details the nature of the drug violation establishing grounds for forfeiture. Offenses are described in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Data regarding possession, delivery and manufacture includes the lesser-included offense of attempt. Sixty-five percent of the total seizures are on the basis of suspected possession and delivery activity.
 
NATURE OF VIOLATION
Offense / Drugs:
Amphet-
amine
Cocaine
Crack
Cocaine
Heroin
Mari-
juana
Metham-
phetamine
Meth.
Precursor
Other
Known
Unknown
Combi-
nation
Total
MCS01002200005
DCS02921030411344
PCS1121512163400213105
Conspiracy01000100002
Solicitation00000000000
MCS/DCS00113001107
MCS/CCS00001000001
DCS/CCS00000000101
PCS/CCS00000100001
PCS/DCS1573761031231361122140690
PCS/SCS00000000101
PCS/DCS/CCS102300002716
PCS/DCS/SCS00001000001
MCS/PCS011255000418
MCS/DCS/PCS0430453910052144
MCS/DCS/PCS/CCS010023000410
Total179510712320822426402241046
 

KEY: PCS - Possession Controlled Substance; DCS - Distribution Controlled Substance;
MCS - Manufacture Controlled Substance; CCS - Conspiracy Controlled Substance;
SCS - Solicitation Controlled Substance




While forfeiture in Oregon is a civil proceeding, the person or persons from whom the property is seized is frequently arrested, charged or otherwise involved in a corresponding criminal proceeding. The following information identifies the action taken by law enforcement against the person or persons from whom the property listed above was seized. The data is based on the number of seizures, not the number of affected individuals. The actions are broken down into five classifications: Arrested/Cited, Excluded, Indicted/Charged, No (arrest, citation or criminal charge) and Unknown. Thirty-two percent of the total seizures resulted in arrest and/or citation and indictments and/or charging of one or more individuals for the suspected criminal activity that was cause for the seizure. The committee no longer gathers information regarding the disposition of any corresponding criminal proceedings.
 
Ninety four percent of seizures resulted in a corresponding criminal action against one or more individuals.
 
LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION
Offense / Drugs:
Amphet-
amine
Cocaine
Crack
Cocaine
Heroin
Mari-
juana
Metham-
phetamine
Meth.
Precursor
Other
Known
Unknown
Combi-
nation
Total
Arrested/Cited174955591121441512123577
Excluded0273000121337
Indicted/Charged051915140011055
No000020007110
Unknown00103010128
Arrested/Cited, Excluded00010000023
Arrested/Cited,
Indicted/Charged
0384150696400281345
Arrested/Cited,
Indicted/Charged, Unknown
00010000023
Arrested/Cited, No01000000012
Arrested/Cited, Unknown002373000217
Total179510712620822526442271057




Approximately one-third of the seizures resulted in a claim being filed by one or more interested parties.
Oregon forfeiture law allows persons with interest in seized property to file a claim stating that they are either an innocent owner (not involved in or having knowledge of the associated criminal activity), or that the property was not obtained through or profit of the associated criminal activity. Claims were filed in 303 cases. The committee does not collect data directly related to the disposition of such claims.
SOURCE OF CLAIM
ClaimantNumber of cases
Person from whom property was seized202
Other interested party52
Financial Institution4
Person from whom seized/Other33
Person from whom seized/Financial Institution1
Other interested party/Financial Institution1
Unreported10
Total303




The following graph indicates the type of drugs that were suspected in association with the investigation that led to the seizure regardless of whether the drug was present at the time of seizure.
 
Type of Associated Drugs
 
Seizure of property was based on suspected criminal activity involving marijuana, methamphetamine or a combination of drugs in 62% of the reported cases.




The following information details the circumstances of the seizure. These circumstances include search warrant/ seizure order, probable cause, vehicle consent search, other consent search, public health/safety, other or any combination of the aforementioned. The table below indicates the total number of cases for each circumstance regardless of the suspected controlled substance.
 
Property seizures were based on probable cause searches in 59 percent of the reported cases. Twenty-three percent of seizures involved search warrants or seizure orders. About 10 percent of reported seizures involved consent as the sole basis for the search and seizure.
 
CircumstanceTotal CircumstanceTotal
Search Warrant/Seizure Order184Probable Cause/Vehicle Consent/
Public Health
3
Probable Cause472Public Health/Other2
Vehicle Consent23Vehicle Consent/Other Consent8
Other Consent Search70Vehicle Consent/Other Consent/
Public Health
1
Public Health/Safety3Vehicle Consent/Public Health3
Other45Vehicle Consent/Other4
Other Consent/Other5Warrant/Other Consent2
Probable Cause/Other Consent81Warrant/Probable Cause46
Probable Cause/Other27Warrant/Probable Cause/Other Consent5
Probable Cause/Public Health13Warrant/Probable Cause/Other3
Probable Cause/Vehicle Consent24Warrant Probable Cause/Public Health1
Probable Cause/Other Consent/
Public Health
3Warrant/Probable Cause/
Vehicle Consent
4
Probable Cause/Public Health/Other3Warrant/Vehicle Consent1
Probable Cause/Vehicle Consent/
Other Consent
6  


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DISPOSITIONAL DATA
Forfeiture counsel declined to pursue civil forfeiture action in 212 (20 percent) of the 1,064 reported forfeiture cases. The information contained in this section relates only to the disposition of the 852 civil forfeiture proceedings for those cases that were not declined by forfeiture counsel. This committee does not gather information regarding the disposition of any corresponding criminal proceeding.

[NOTE: Numbers in this section may reflect actions pertaining to multiple claimants in a single forfeiture case. The property being sought for forfeiture is the defendant in the forfeiture action.]
 
Legal counsel represented claimants in 115 cases (14 percent). In 12 cases the claimant was assisted by legal counsel, however counsel was not formally retained to represent the claimant regarding the civil matter. By statute, ORS 475A.110 (4), claimants shall be awarded costs, disbursements and attorney´s fees if claimant prevails. There were no reported cases in which the court awarded attorney fees to claimant´s counsel.
 
   Represented ...
Number of cases
... at some time other than judgment
31
... at judgment
29
... at sometime other than judgment
and time of judgment
55
Assisted only
12
 
Default judgments were issued in 766 cases. In 84% of the default cases, the judgment was issued on the basis of no claim being filed. For those cases where the reason for default is "other", the forfeiting agency indicated that no claim was filed on some part of the seized property.
 
Ninety percent of the forfeiture actions resulted in a judgment of default. Of these, 84% resulted from no claim being filed.
 
Reason for Default
Number of cases
 Reason for Default
Number of cases
No claim filed
640
Other
23
Judicial, no answer
62
Judicial No Answer/Other
1
Defective Claim
22
No Claim/Other
2
No claim/Judicial, no answer
12
No Claim/Defective Claim/Judicial, no answer
1
No claim/Defective Claim
2
No Claim/Judicial, no answer/Other
1


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Claimant or government may request a stay of the forfeiture proceeding until such time as any corresponding criminal case has been resolved. A stay of proceeding was requested in 12 cases. Three of these were requested by the government agency prosecuting the case, one was requested by both the government agency prosecuting the case and the claimant. Claimants requested the remaining eight.
 
Claimants may file requests for an expedited hearing to order the return of seized property. There were only two cases reported requesting an expedited hearing. The resulting outcome was only reported for one of these cases, indicating that there was no hearing held.
 
In 21 cases, there was a trial or other proceeding that led to judgment. One case was found for the claimant, one case resulted in a mixed verdict, two cases resulted in a summary judgment for the claimant, one case resulted in a mixed summary judgment and the remaining 16 cases were found for the government. The court was the finder of fact in all of these cases.
 
There were 97 cases in which judgment was not entered as a result of default or a contested hearing. Of these cases, 69 were settled by stipulated judgment.
 
Disposition  
Number of cases
Of the 97 cases where judgment was not entered as a result of default or contested hearing, 71 percent were settled by stipulated judgment not associated with a corresponding criminal case.
Settled by stipulated judgment
69
Dismissed by forfeiture counsel
9
Summary release
3
Settled by stipulated judgment associated with criminal case
12
Other
4
 
No reported cases involved a mitigation hearing request and there was only one case in which an appeal was filed. The appeal was filed by the government agency prosecuting the case.


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ACCOUNTING DATA
 
Of the $1.2 million of cash seized, $1.1 million was forfeited at time of judgment. Thirty-eight percent of the forfeiture cases involved other property. Of those, seventy-one percent had estimated values of $5,000 or less, while twenty-nine percent involved estimated values over $5,000.
 
Law enforcement agencies reported seizure of $1,195,383.37 in cash between March 1 and December 31, 1999, resulting in a forfeited amount of $1,094,363.87. Information regarding the actual value of property seized and distribution of proceeds is not available until the property is liquidated by the law enforcement agency. This information will be detailed in the Asset Distribution section of this report.
 
Agencies reported 326 cases involving seizure of property that was not currency. The following table details those cases based on the estimated value of the non-currency property seized.
 
There were 27 cases involving seizure of real property. There were 96 cases where all or part of the seized assets were returned to a claimant prior to judgment.
 
Estimated value of property
(other than cash) seized
Number of cases
Less than $1,000119
$1,000 - $5,000112
$5,001 - $10,000  46
$10,001 - $25,000  26
$25,001 - $100,000  13
Over $100,000  10


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ASSET DISTRIBUTION
Forfeiting agencies reported distribution in detail for $802,000 in forfeiture proceeds. Investigation and litigation costs accounted for 81% of these proceeds. Of the $150,000 of these proceeds available for distribution, 8.5% went to drug lab cleanup and oversight activities and 91.5% was distributed pursuant to statute and intergovernmental agreements.
 
The following information details the manner in which the forfeited assets referred to previously in this report are distributed pursuant to a judgment in a forfeiture case entered after March 1, 1999. Forfeiture counsels provide the information as soon as reasonably possible following liquidation and distribution of all assets associated with the case. The reporting of this data is only required for cases where total receipts available for distribution are greater than or equal to $10,000.00. However many agencies continue to report all cases regardless of the gross value of total receipts. All reported cases are included in this data.

[NOTE: Information regarding distribution of assets is not received until all property associated with the forfeiture action has been liquidated. This liquidation process may take up to a year from the date of final disposition. There is no uniform manner in which agencies determine costs associated with the forfeiture action. Some agencies deduct actual costs, while others take an equal percentage from each case.]
 
Actual cash forfeited at time of judgment$ 509,840.16
Interest earned on forfeited cash pending judgment $ 6,252.72
Liquidated proceeds of other property $ 229,276.01
Total Receipts available for distribution $ 801,569.13
COSTS:
Publications:$ 4,879.49
Attorney Fees:$ 243,617.49
Investigative Costs:$ 395,836.95
Other:$ 6,956.98
TOTAL DEDUCTIONS $ 651,290.91
Net Proceeds Available for distribution *$ 150,278.22
Deduct DEQ Illegal Drug Cleanup Fund Deposit$ 8,553.19
Deduct AFOAC Account Deposit$ 4,218.86
Net cash distributed to seizing agencies, governmental
entities and department, including prosecution
$ 137,506.17
Total estimated value of property in use by seizing agency$ 1,500.00
Total estimated value of weapons and equipment destroyed$ 4,935.00
Total estimated value of equipment donated to education$ 150.00
 
*This amount includes cases where investigation and/or prosecution costs exceeded the value of forfeited property.




The information provided above demonstrates the distribution of assets for a nine-month period and includes only that data from forfeitures of $10,000 or greater or that which was voluntarily reported by law enforcement agencies. Similar data in other sections use full-year data, include large and small forfeitures, and may only report local government forfeitures.
 
These numbers should be used only to compare future numbers generated by this database, where there is some assurance they will be internally consistent. These numbers should not be used for budgeting purposes or to compare against the fiscal year reports in the next section.
 
For the 1997-1999 biennium, $53,320.18 was deposited into the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Account, which funds Committee staff and activities. Pursuant to ORS 475A.160 (5) (6) the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission refunded agencies, on a pro rata basis, a total of $3,320.18.




LOCAL GOVERNMENT USE OF PROCEEDS
In addition to the forms completed by forfeiture counsel on a case-by-case basis, ORS 475A.120 (5) requires any political subdivision of the state that receives forfeiture proceeds to submit a report detailing how the proceeds have been or will be used. These reports are completed for the fiscal year of the agency and are submitted to the committee on or before December 15 of each year. The following information is based on reports received detailing activity for the fiscal year ending in 1999. To date approximately 50 percent of the agencies have reported.

[NOTE: The information in this section cannot be directly compared to information in the Asset Distribution Section. This information is based on local government fiscal years and includes forfeiture cases not subject to seizure reports. The previous section uses reported data from a partial calendar year, includes seizures by state agencies and includes only data required to be reported (cases involving $10,000 or more) or is voluntarily reported.]
 
This table details activity reported by local governments regarding use of funds deposited in their forfeiture fund accounts.
 
Balance from previous fiscal year:$414,164.28
Total post-judgment receipts which became available for distribution this fiscal year from drug asset forfeitures including interest (excluding federal forfeitures)$2,044,623.67
Amount of post-judgment receipts expended for costs pertaining to forfeiture action
Publications$55,939.04
Attorney Fees$411,681.44
Investigative Costs$623,475.16
Other$45,880.83
Total Costs$1,136,976.47
Net receipts available after costs$907,647.20
Amount deposited in DEQ Illegal Drug Cleanup Fund$42,166.24
Amount deposited in Asset Forfeiture Oversight Account$16,713.30
Total amount of post-judgment forfeiture proceeds available for distribution (current proceeds plus previous balance)$1,262,931.94
Amount of proceeds expended during fiscal year and general purpose for which it was used (these amounts should not have been taken as costs above)
Law Enforcement$398,686.33
Prosecution$144,961.70
Forfeiture expenses paid/reimbursed$14,505.42
Removal of toxic substances$60,130.37
Drug Treatment, Education, Prevention$185,641.75
Other$13,884.49
Total Expenditures$817,810.06
Amount of post-judgment forfeiture proceeds retained$445,121.88


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COMMITTEE PROGRESS
At the time of the last report, the committee had been focusing on four areas. The four areas were:

  1. Preparing the report to the legislature regarding implementation and data collection pursuant to 1997 House Bill 2433, which expanded law enforcement authority to make stops and conduct searches.
  2. Preparing the committee report to the appointing authorities.
  3. Reviewing the forfeiture reporting process.
  4. Reviewing forfeiture contributions to the DEQ Illegal Drug Cleanup Fund and Asset Forfeiture Oversight Account.
The committee also introduced legislation that requires the Criminal Justice Commission to refund agencies their pro rata share of funds received over the $50,000 biennial cap only if the refund is $25.00 or greater. HB 2937 was signed into law by the Governor.
 
The 1999 Legislative Assembly did not renew the statutory obligation of the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee to continue in the data gathering efforts pursuant to 1997 House Bill 2433. However, the Governor´s Public Safety Planning and Policy Council has requested that the Community Relations Workgroup (formally the HB 2433 Implementation Workgroup) continue to gather information from law enforcement agencies. While no funding component was provided by the legislature, it is the hope of the Community Relations Workgroup to conduct another survey of the general population and minority communities to evaluate their perceptions of treatment by law enforcement officers in Oregon. It is also hoped that the survey may be expanded to include the Asian community.
 
Historically this report has been an aggregate report of all information contained in the AFOAC database. This report is the first report in many years to detail the number and nature of forfeitures for the preceding year only. The new data reporting process has provided for more detailed information to be included in this report and has allowed staff to validate the data in a manner that makes the information more reliable.


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LOOKING AHEAD
As part of its efforts to gather information regarding forfeiture in an efficient and effective manner, the committee is hoping to address a number of items on its workplan during the current interim. These items include:

  • Review compliance with statutory requirements to use multi-lingual consent forms in non-probable cause vehicle stops. It is not yet determined whether this will be done through a survey process or will be added as part of the reporting process.
  • Continue to review the contribution requirement to determine a uniform way for costs to be calculated across the state.
  • Review the publication requirement set forth in the statute regarding forfeitures valued at $1,000 or greater.
  • Continue review of issues brought before this committee as a result of 1997 HB 2433.
  • Examine the possibility of using criminal forfeiture rather than civil forfeiture and review the possibility of changing the burden of proof/persuasion.
  • Examine the possibility of modifying the bond requirement and 21 day limit to file a claim.
  • Examine the potential use of the Drug Lab Cleanup Fund in the Department of Environmental Quality to offset costs to innocent owners in property cleanup and recertification.
  • Expand outreach to the criminal justice community in an effort to determine what information would be valuable for practitioners to receive from the committee
  • Examine the possibility of modifying the statute to allow law enforcement agencies to use forfeiture proceeds to maintain seized property pending forfeiture judgment.
  • Review alternatives to the current structure for forfeiture oversight.




AGENCIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND ADVISORY BODIES THAT ADDRESS FORFEITURE-RELATED ISSUES
  • Law Enforcement Agency Internal Affairs Division - Receives and reviews complaints of alleged police misconduct.
  • City/County Elected Officials - Provides budgetary oversight on use of forfeiture proceeds, provides policy oversight of law enforcement agency activities and ordinances.
  • City/County Forfeiture Counsel - Provides legal advice to seizing agencies, reviews seizures for potential application of forfeiture laws and ordinances.
  • Governor´s Office Citizen Representative - Receives complaints of alleged misconduct by criminal justice personnel or perceived injustices.
  • Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee - Twelve-member body appointed by state officials to report on the number and nature of forfeiture proceedings and make recommendations on forfeiture laws and processes.
  • Environmental Quality Commission/DEQ - Administers Illegal Drug Cleanup Fund, which provides funding to law enforcement agencies to clean up illegal drug labs.
  • Legislative Assembly - Provides budgetary oversight on use of forfeiture proceeds by state agencies, provides policy oversight of law enforcement agency activities and laws and responds to constituent concerns of improper activity or perceived injustices in the criminal justice system.


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