Thursday, April 3, 2014

When is the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office Going to File a Civil Forfeiture Action Against Colts' Owner Jim Irsay?

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay
By now, people who read my blog should be aware of the the abuses of civil forfeiture. That's the tool that allows law enforcement to keep cash and property seized from private citizens through the use of a civil action, an action that employs a much lower standard of proof than the criminal "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.  Criminal charges do not even have to be filed to pursue a civil forfeiture. The civil action need only allege that the property was used in conjunction with a crime. Although Indiana's civil forfeiture law only allows law enforcement to keep money to cover costs of the law enforcement action (the rest of the money is to go to the Common School Fund), prosecutors all over the state have worked to keep 100% of the proceeds in direct violation of the law.   The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office is one of those prosecutor's offices which haven't turned over a dime of civil forfeiture money to the Common School Fund for years.

Worse yet, I heard from a defense attorney who practices in Hamilton County that during the person's processing after a seizure in that county (and before charges are filed if they are filed),  law enforcement officials will try to get the person to sign a waiver giving law enforcement everything that was seized.  It is very questionable what happens to the seizures that result from these waivers or whether a civil forfeiture action is ever filed since they have been "settled."  At the conclusion of the case when a determination is being made of which government agencies receive the civil forfeiture money, most judges are just simply signing off on the prosecutor's paperwork that allows law enforcement to keep 100% of the money.  The civil forfeiture defendant does not have standing to challenge that division of the money and thus there is no one to oppose the prosecutor at that point.

Jim Irsay was found with $29,000 in cash on him during his arrest.  Did Hamilton County law enforcement ask him to sign a waiver letting them have the money as they would have with a private citizen?  Apparently not.  As of today, no civil forfeiture action has been filed by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office against Irsay.  You can bet that if Irsay were an ordinary citizen, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office would have immediately filed a civil forfeiture action against him.

Once again, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office demonstrates there are two types of justice in that county, one that applies to people who have money and political power and the one ordinary citizens must face.

The Indiana Law Blog today put up a link to an excellent New Yorker article on civil forfeiture.

14 comments:

Kilroy said...

You could at least view the statute and figure out that the charges don't allow forfeiture. Not that complicated.

Indy Rob said...

Kilroy, you mean that having 29K in cash and enough RX and other pills to choke a colt is not enough proof of drug trafficking to merit civil forfeiture, leaving alone that civil forfeiture have very little to do with either being charged or convicted.

Kilroy said...

Enough RX to choke a colt? I haven't seen any evidence of that. And besides, the prosecutor's office doesn't even file civil forfeitures in Hamilton County. Post is full of fail.

Flogger said...

The important ingredient for the Mega-Media is to frame this as Irsay "The Victim." Poor fellow just got involved with the wrong crowd. Of course we will probably not find out who the names are in the wrong crowd. I am sure Mega-Media will do all they can to Rehab the Irsay Image for home consumption, after all Professional Sports stands for Patriotism, Hoosier Values, Say No to Drugs, etc., etc.

When the wrist slap comes from the Justice System, we will hear how he has suffered enough because of the public disgrace.

Nick Smith said...

Yeah, Kilroy is right. He'd have to be arrested for trafficking or distribution of illegal items in order for them to seize his property. Forfeiture only comes into play when cash and items are suspected to be funded by the sale of illegal items.

Unigov said...

I can only go by news reports, but he was reported to have a lot of prescription pain killers with him. Also 29 large. A black person busted for DWI in Indiana under those circumstances would be arraigned by now, and their 29k would be gone.

Irsay did so much fraudulent prescription business with a certain pharmacy in Nora a few years ago that the pharmacy got busted.

Either you are an Irsay, or blind, or a fool.

Explain again just how Irsay was allowed to escape to rehab, when mere mortals would be up sht creek? Seriously, tell us how that works vis a vis the 14th amendment.

Charles Geckler said...

The blog is exactly correct- I have seen cases all over the nation in the last 10 years,in which, property has been taken without any charges even being filed. His prior huge prescription fraud would have been enough to earn the average citizen decades behind bars on federal narcotics trafficking charges. No part of the 14th is being applied here- Good Job Paul

Charles Geckler said...

cvi

Kilroy said...

Unigov: A blood draw was taken. A mere mortal would be waiting around 9-12 months waiting for the results before charges were ever filed. Irsay will actually be charged sooner as his case will receive special attention. Ogden doesn't practice criminal law and does not know how the system usually works. Ask any of the regular defense attorneys up in the H.C., and you'll find out that this is all pretty standard.

Unigov said...

Kilroy - from your posts I think you do know something of the law. But are you arguing that Irsay's treatment is exactly the same that a mere mortal would have received?

My argument is that a normal person deemed under the influence by the arresting officer (and on video) would not enjoy a delay of "9-12 months" for a lab report. Blood results don't take 9-12 months, whether it be for alcohol, PCP, oxycontin, or witch hazel. No lab result takes 9-12 months.

So I think you might be a lawyer, and a shill for the Colts.

Kilroy said...

Unigov: No, i'm an ex-deputy prosecutor that knows exactly how the offices run. And yes, that is how long blood draw results take in most cases outside of Marion County. Ask any competent defense attorney in Hamilton County. A mere mortal with no criminal history arrested for OWI and POCS will get no jail time, and between a year and two years of probation.

Trythcn chester said...

What's 29000 anyway he's had that in his glovebox just in case he ran into a chance to buy some meth.that's the truth.

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