To follow up on a point John made yesterday about equitable sharing in California, I’d like to point out that law enforcement in California actually receives more income from federal forfeiture than they do through state courts. Data from the federal Asset Forfeiture Program and California’s Attorney General show a consistent and widening gap between the amount of money law enforcement in California receives through the federal equitable sharing program and the amount they receive from state forfeitures.
Between 2002 and 2009 the US Department of Justice paid out over $100 million more to California’s law enforcement community than California’s Department of Justice. There was only one year, 2003, where the state doled out more than the federal government. The trend looks likely to continue, as equitable sharing outlays to the state increased from $59 million in 2009 to $75 million in 2010, though California has yet to post their numbers for 2010. Unfortunately for Sgt. Brucia, setting the record straight requires admitting that California’s forfeiture law simply does not apply to a large number of forfeitures pursued by state and local law enforcement.