ACLU Sues Pinal County For Exploiting Forfeiture Laws

justice money

The ACLU has filed suit against the Pinal County Attorney, Sheriff, and the Clerk of the Superior Court in Pinal County, Arizona, for their enforcement of Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

In Arizona, civil asset forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be charged with or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.

In this case, Pinal County law enforcement used what the ACLU refers to as an “unconstitutional scheme,” against Rhonda Cox, a Pinal County resident, to seize and keep her used truck, violating her First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments rights, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU claims that in order to keep her truck, the State didn’t have to prove that she did anything wrong – let alone criminal. In addition, the County Attorney’s office informed Ms. Cox that the State’s civil asset forfeiture laws would doubly punish her if she pursued her claim and didn’t win—in the end, she would lose her truck and be required to pay the county’s attorneys’ fees and investigation costs, which would exceed the value of her truck. Ms. Cox couldn’t absorb the financial risk involved, so she was forced to withdraw her claim and give up her truck to the authorities, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU argues that “civil asset forfeiture was originally intended as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But Arizona’s law creates perverse, unfair, and unconstitutional incentives for law enforcement agencies around the state to seize and forfeit as much money and property from people as possible, regardless of whether they’re guilty of a crime. All the profits from these efforts add up to multi-million dollar slush funds that are available to the same law enforcement agencies that seize them, and there is little or no oversight in how the profits are spent. The ACLU believes that constitutional policing should be motivated by crime fighting, not by profit seeking.”


  1. Pineal county Sheriff Babs is a hypocrite, plain and simple. He loves to grandstand on TV about how self righteous a person he is while living the life of a societal deviant and corrupt PUBLIC SERVANT. Smells like pork all around this state with these badged hypocrites who try to justify their special privileged class while they rip us off. If it we up to me, I’d investigate all cops in this Cop-land police state, imprison those caught and fire the rest. With law breakers like these crooks preying on the taxpayer sheep, we don’t need them.

  2. All police entities need to be included on this lawsuit. Open up all the books on the TPD, PCSO, DPS, OVPD and Marand PD. I bet you the Chiefs in charge of each of these agencies are pulling the same corrupt racket off the books. We live in a police enrichment state people, wake up. These self servicing oath breakers are in it for themselves monetarily, not law and order or else THEY’D ABIDE BY THOSE SAME LAWS WE ARE SUBJECTED TO.

  3. Pinal County Sheriff is this the man who had a long term Lover ( illegal ) living in his home with full knowledge? Then he got angry and called ICE?

    If this Sheriff will do that to the person he shares his bes & life with, it just reasonable ti think he would gladly screw over the residents of his community.

    Need I say more. I am glad the ACLU is taking this to Court. I am hopeful the Court will stop and set very clear rules and when and how this law maybe be applied.

    The abuse of the Law and for Lawenforcement to hide behind the misuse/ intent of the Law is a serious Violation of ” we the ppl ” protection. Just like his mentor Joe Arapio who has had to PAY MILLIONS and millions for WROnGFUL , malicious , illegal Violations of ppl right the Pinal County Sheriff has selected the wrong type of mentor.

    We must stop any and all Law Enforcement officials for misuse if the Law. When it becomes personal they loose objective of enforcement and make it a vendetta.

  4. If the forfeiture laws are badly flawed–and I think they are–why not work to change them? Why sue when Pinal County, gasp!, enforces a law on the books? Or is enforcing laws a no-no according the the ACLU?

  5. The Civil Asset Forfeiture laws at the State and Federal level are the biggest example of the corruption from the War on Drugs. They are also an example of why giving any government power is dangerous unless that government closely and constantly watched.

    Christopher Cole
    First Vice-Chair Pima County Libertarian Party

    • It is also a flagrant violation of the XIV Amendment. But when was the last time that you can remember that our Tyrants and the ACTIVIST judges that they appoint believed in and went by what the COTUS say’s. IMO we now have a Tyrannical form of government that is worse than when we were ruled by the British. The war on drugs can not be won until we choke of the main source of the supplier which is MEXICO and SOUTH AMERICA and the ONLY way to do that is to seal the border in the same manner that Israel is protecting itself.

  6. Our Tyrannical, Dictatorial, Authoritarian, Totalitarian governments are the LARGEST Organized, Criminal, Terrorist entities on the planet and it is the fault of the Citizens for allowing these agencies to become the DEMONS that they are. These laws need to be revised severely to protect “we the people” from these thieves.

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