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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Civil Suit Challenging Alleged Abuses in Asset Forfeiture

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Nachodoches attorney David Guillory is challenging the enforcement of Texas asset seizure laws in Tenaha and Shelby County in east Texas, alleging that his clients were stopped and coerced into waiving property rights in exchange for a promise to be released and not be criminally charged.

Linda Dorman, an Akron, Ohio, great-grandmother had $4,000 in cash taken from her by local authorities when she was stopped while driving through town after visiting Houston in April 2007. Court records make no mention that anything illegal was found in her van. She’s still hoping for the return of what she calls “her life savings.”

Many small town police forces have come to depend on the civil asset forfeiture laws for operational expenses. The incentive to cross the line from preventing criminals from enjoying ill-gotten gains to an easy way to earn money for the department is an all too apparent conflict of interest.

Guillory’s sleuthing in the district clerk’s office raised his suspicions. ” We found out what the names of those people were and then we looked in the criminal docket there in Shelby County for the past 24 months to see if any of those people were ever charged with a crime or prosecuted of a crime. The answer is we didn’t find anyone. That’s what really caught our eye. That’s what made it suspicious and that’s what made it seem like a situation where it’s just a money shakedown operation beside the road with no intent of enforcing crime or criminal laws or anything like that. “

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One Response

  1. Jen says:

    Hey Luke! I was doing some research about forfeiture because we’re dealing with a case right now in, all of places, Shelby County, and I came across your site….Excellent!

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