Statement of William B. Moffitt, President-Elect National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Re: Today’s Supreme Court Decision on Forfeiture — Florida v. White
Washington, DC (May 17, 1999) -- “Chipping away at what remains of the Fourth Amendment, the U. S. Supreme Court today — overruling the Florida Supreme Court — upheld the warrantless seizure of an automobile the police believed was used in drug trafficking several months earlier. This nation’s ‘War on Drugs’ has eviscerated the fundamental protections our founding fathers included in our Constitution. Where a law enforcement agency is the beneficiary of forfeited property, the constitutional presumption of approval by a neutral magistrate issuing a proper warrant is essential. Today’s ruling virtually eliminates that protection, and encourages further shortcuts by police in the interest of merely building up their own property inventories at the expense of American citizens."