Gloucester County Asset Forfeiture Documents On-line
As a public service, the South Jersey Libertarian Party has obtained financial records from the Gloucester County (New Jersey) Prosecutor's Office setting forth its cash and property seizures under the state's forfeiture statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:64-1 et seq.) during 2014 and the first quarter in 2015.
Also obtained were the quarterly forfeiture reports filed by the following municipal police departments within Gloucester County during 2014 and the first two quarters of 2015: Deptford, Paulsboro, West Deptford, Westville, Woodbury and Woodbury Heights.
We compiled the raw reports into an Excel file and converted it to a PDF file. Both version, which are available for download at the links below, contain live links to the forfeiture reports we received from the County Prosecutor.
Download the Excel file here.
Download the PDF file here.
This is a work in progress and we hope to update and revise the report as more data becomes available.
What is forfeiture and why are we doing this?
Briefly, New Jersey's forfeiture statute permits prosecutors to file civil lawsuits against cash and property that "which has been, or is intended to be, utilized in furtherance of an unlawful activity" or which is the "proceeds of illegal activities." N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1. There is no requirement that a person be convicted of an offense in order to suffer forfeiture or his or her cash or property. Indeed, N.J.S.A. 2C:64-4 explicitly states that "the fact that a prosecution involving seized property terminates without a conviction does not preclude forfeiture proceedings against the property pursuant to" the New Jersey Forfeiture Statute.
Further, forfeited cash and property does not go into the state's or county's general fund. Rather, it goes into a special trust account held by the Prosecutor who then "divide[s] the forfeited property, any proceeds resulting from the forfeiture or any money seized" with municipal or other law enforcement agencies that participated in the activity that resulted in the seizure. N.J.S.A. 2C:64-6.
So, in sum, the forfeiture law allows law enforcement to confiscate money and property (e.g. cars, real estate, etc.) from people who have not necessarily been convicted of any offense and then keep the confiscated money and property.
We believe that, at the very least, the public should have ready access to information about how much money and property is seized and forfeited and how it is distributed and spent.