In Washington County, the debate has centered around those whose cash is forfeited even when they are not charged with a crime. That has happened in New York, but only when federal law enforcement is involved.
A South Glens Falls deli owner lost cash he was carrying after being pulled over for making a bad lane change in a New York City toll plaza on his way to the airport. He said he needed the cash to help his ailing mother in India; the police believed it was drug money and took it. He went on to India anyway and returned months later to continue running his deli.
Each county in New York that has a sheriff’s department officer on the federal drug task force gets a small percentage of the state forfeitures, so Washington County supervisors have debated the issue every time they get their share.