Authorizes claiming authorities or agents to retain electronic, telecommunications or surveillance equipment or devices, computers, or office equipment for law enforcement purposes in civil forfeiture actions for the proceeds of a crime.
Ayes (60): Adams, Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Nozzolio, O'Brien, O'Mara, Peralta, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sampson, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (3): Montgomery, Parker, Perkins
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to authorizing a claiming authority to retain personal property for law enforcement purposes
PURPOSE: This bill permits law enforcement officials to retain seized property, such as electronic, telecommunications or surveillance equipment or devices, computers, or office equipment that has been seized and forfeited, after approval of the court, in order to utilize such personal property for law enforcement purposes.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends Civil Practice Law and Rules section 1349 to add property such as electronic, telecommunications or surveillance equipment or devices, ox office equipment to items such as vehicles, vessels, and aircraft which may be currently retained by state and local law enforcement entities after forfeiture and used for law enforcement purposes.
EXISTING LAW: This valuable equipment cannot now be used by law enforcement officials.
JUSTIFICATION: Under current law, any vehicle, vessel or aircraft that is seized by and forfeited to a state or local law enforcement agency as a "proceeds of a crime" may be retained by the seizing jurisdiction, after court approval, and then used for such office's law enforcement activities, The current law enhances the ability of state and local law enforcement officials to combat crime, while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars by avoiding the need to purchase these expensive items. Further, if such items were auctioned off at public auction, the proceeds received from such auctions are generally much less than the market value of such assets or the price to purchase such assets new. Further, there is a cost to auction off such assets and costs are incurred to store such vehicles, vessels or aircraft before such auction.
Law enforcement agencies often seize valuable electronic equipment such as computers, video equipment, telecommunications or office equipment, fax machines, and surveillance equipment such as night vision goggles which are superior to the equipment used by police agencies. Further, this equipment could be used to help combat crime or reduce auto theft. Unfortunately, under current law, such electronic equipment cannot be forfeited. Instead, this valuable equipment must be auctioned off in accordance CPLR Article 51 at very low prices.
The auction process is slow and costly, and produces only a fraction of the value of the goods, even when the electronic equipment is in good condition. In addition, once possessed, such law enforcement offices could share this equipment with other law enforcement agencies to help reduce their operating and capital costs as well.
In addition, since the Federal Government has a more extensive civil forfeiture law, often state and local law enforcement agencies will
allow a federal law enforcement agency to take the lead in an arrest and seizure of property to take advantage of the Federal civil forfeiture law. Hence, the current wide dichotomy between New York State and Federal civil forfeiture laws, forces state and local law enforcement to find willing federal partners to conduct arrests and seize property. However, Federal Law enforcement agencies are already taxed to the limit and are concentrating more resources on the war on terror, hence other crimes that tend to be more state based in their enforcement such as drug trafficking, auto theft, auto insurance fraud, and others is not a Federal priority as much as it is for local law enforcement agencies.
This bill would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to retain more seized equipment, after court approval, reduce the cost of state and local governments by reducing auction, inventory, and storage costs of seized property and the cost to purchase new office equipment and other seized. properties.
This bill was revised to take into consideration the comments of the NYS Association of Chiefs of police, the NYS District Attorneys Association, and the NYS Sheriffs Association, to update this law. All of these law enforcement associations now endorse and support this bill.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S. 3829-A - Referred to Codes
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: This measure would have a beneficial fiscal impact. This is because it would make such sophisticated equipment free and available for use by law enforcement officials, instead of forcing such law enforcement agency to auction off this seized equipment at well below its market value. This bill should save municipal and state law enforcement agencies funds that otherwise would need to be expended to purchase such sophisticated equipment.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill measure would positively help the finances of municipal and state law enforcement agencies.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 30 days after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2333 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, CARLUCCI, GALLIVAN, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to author- izing a claiming authority to retain personal property for law enforcement purposes THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The opening paragraph of subdivision 2 of section 1349 of the civil practice law and rules, as added by chapter 655 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows: If any other provision of law expressly governs the manner of disposi- tion of property subject to the judgment or order of forfeiture, that provision of law shall be controlling. Upon application by a claiming agent for reimbursement of moneys directly expended by a claiming agent in the underlying criminal investigation for the purchase of contraband which were converted into a non-monetary form or which have not been otherwise recovered, the court shall direct such reimbursement from money forfeited pursuant to this article. Upon application of the claim- ing agent, the court may direct that any vehicles, vessels
[or], aircraft, ELECTRONIC, TELECOMMUNICATIONS OR SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT OR DEVICES, COMPUTERS AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 156.00 OF THE PENAL LAW OR OFFICE EQUIPMENT forfeited pursuant to this article be retained by the claiming agent for law enforcement purposes, unless the court determines that such property is subject to a perfected lien, in which case the court may not direct that the property be retained unless all such liens on the property to be retained have been satisfied or pursuant to the court's order will be satisfied. In the absence of an application by the claiming agent, the claiming authority may apply to the court to retain such property for law enforcement purposes. Upon such application, the court may direct that such property be retained byEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02668-01-3 S. 2333 2
the claiming authority for law enforcement purposes, unless the court determines that such property is subject to a perfected lien. If not so retained, the judgment or order shall direct the claiming authority to sell the property in accordance with article fifty-one of this chapter, and that the proceeds of such sale and any other moneys realized as a consequence of any forfeiture pursuant to this article shall be appor- tioned and paid in the following descending order of priority: S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to forfeiture actions commenced on or after such date.