Court ruling sets higher bar for police, prosecutors in asset seizures in New York

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling limiting the ability of state and local police to seize cars, cash and homes from criminal suspects has raised the bar for such forfeitures in New York state, authorities said Thursday.

Wednesday’s decision said local law enforcement must follow federal practices that allow seizure of property only when it is an integral part of the crime and only if the property seized isn’t disproportionately large, compared  with the underlying crime.

“Funding our legal system through fines, fees and forfeiture from the accused creates a cycle of criminalization and poverty that has a devastating impact on individuals, families, and entire communities, especially low-income communities of color,” said Susan Gottehrer, director of the New Civil Liberties Union’s Nassau County chapter.