June 30, 2017By Brian Manchester
Civil Asset Forfeiture is one of the major ways in which Pennsylvania use the police to legally take possession of your cars, cash, jewelry, or even houses. You are likely reading this because your cash or property was taken by the police in Pennsylvania. You are also saying to yourself you have done nothing wrong. Well that probably is true but if your cash or property has been seized that means the government says you have done something wrong. Even if you have not been charged. The government likes to say you have done something wrong so they can use the law to intimidate you using the law and their resources to keep your property. That is wrong and that is why my law firm fights civil asset forfeitures using the law and science. You may ask yourself what does science have to do with the government seizing my cash or property? Read below and you will see how it is involved in your seized property, especially cash seized in Pennsylvania.
The famous Dog Hit. Police love to bring in a K-9 unit to show a connection between the money they took from you while driving on Pennsylvania roads. The PA Supreme Court has addressed this exact issue as to the reliability of the K-9 hit and whether that hit is actually related to drug activity. The fact that a drug-sniffing dog alerted on cash is not dispositive of whether money was subject to forfeiture. MONEY IS DIRTY, innocent people have currency that was probably involved in a prior drug transaction, and residual presence of drugs on some part of that currency established only possibility or suspicion of a connection between the money and some type of drug activity. A Dog hit on the items seized by the police is not enough to show that you were involved in illegal activities only that the current cash or item that you had was possibly at one time around drugs. You attack this drug dog hit by getting the training records of the dog and using scientific studies to debunk this bark equals illegal activity nonsense.
The Voodoo they call the ION Scan. The government thinks that if they cannot get a slam dunk with a drug dog, then they turn to a more “scientific” (laugh laugh) test through what is called an ion scanner. This test is nothing more than a mechanical dog. The Courts have stated that proving the presence of cocaine on cash, by itself, is insufficient to show a nexus between that cash and illegal drug trafficking. An ion scan must show that amount of controlled substance found on the money, and it must be done in a way that eliminates the possibility that only a small number of bills are responsible for the ion scan reading. If it does not, the ion scan is no more probative than a drug dog alert. In addition the Court states that the Commonwealth must show that the amount found is above the casual contact level for Pennsylvania or where ever the Commonwealth claims that the funds originated from. Because cash is dirty. What they do is put money on a table and wave a wand (I call it a Magic Wand) over a table covered in money. God help a person who has a bill or 2 that was used to consume drugs. This is junk science and it can be beaten.
The Evil Bundles of Cash. When cash is seized in Pennsylvania the government always make a big deal out of the way a Defendant happened to be carrying large sums of money with them. The Commonwealth Court has stated, it is not against the law to carry cash, and a citizen has no obligation to speak to the police. The Commonwealth bears the burden of proving that seized cash is more likely than not related to illegal drug activity.
The Trafficking Corridor. This is one of my favorite government terms. If you are on a major highway in Pennsylvania like Interstate 80, Interstate 99, and especially the Pennsylvania Turnpike and you happen to have a large amount of cash on you are no longer driving on a Pennsylvania highway and had your cash seized, you have now travelled on a known “Trafficking Corridor” Well it is a trafficking corridor when they want to take your money. To my law firm it is a highway where the government took you cash that we will be fighting to get back for you.
If you, your son, daughter, loved one in Pennsylvania has had their property or cash seized on the highways or roads in Pennsylvania or has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for cash and property seizures often. We have taken these cases to trial and won as well as successfully settled them all across Pennsylvania. If your cash or property was seized in Pennsylvania, you have a limited time to claim your property or cash seized due to time limits set forth in the law so call us immediately. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.