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In the past two decades, the federal government took in $36.5 billion in assets police seized from people, many of whom never were charged with a crime or shown to have drugs.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Supreme Court Decision Could Spur Reform Of Civil Asset Forfeiture

This story is part of a collaborative-reporting initiative supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. All stories can be found here: https://taken.pulitzercenter.org/

The U.S. Supreme Court limited police seizures of property this week in a decision that could begin curbing the civil asset-forfeiture process criticized as "policing for profit." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s decision for a unanimous court does not directly affect civil asset forfeitures in Missouri, Illinois or most states. But Missouri Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, was “emboldened” by the decision. He used it to orchestrate committee passage of a tough bill that would cut off the biggest source of seized money that police use for new squad cars, prisons and weapons.

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St. Louis Public Radio Investigates

Taken: How Police Profit from Seized Property

A data-driven investigation of civil asset forfeiture by St. Louis Public Radio, supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Chicago, IL – The Illinois state quarter will show a young Abraham Lincoln, a farm setting and the Chicago skyline over an outline of the state and 21 stars.

Governor George Ryan unveiled the design today in Chicago.

The coin will be the first to be released in 2003 and will be the 21st state quarter to be minted. The 50 state quarters are being minted in the order that states ratified the Constitution. The program will continue through 2008.

St. Louis, MO – Almost 3,000 union janitors in St. Louis have ratified a new contract, ending a seven-week strike.

The local Service Employees Union and the Contract Cleaners Association came to the four-year agreement last week. The average janitor will see an average 28% pay raise. Employers will also double their pension contributions.

St. Louis, MO – Religious leaders in the St. Louis area are condemning remarks made the Reverend Jerry Fallwell on national television Sunday.

Members of the Interfaith Partnership said Tuesday they're outraged that Fallwell called the founder of Islam a terrorist. Imam Muhammad Nur Abdullah, with the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, says the comments show ignorance and insensitivity.

Washington, DC – Most Missourians in Congress say President Bush has made a convincing case for immediate action against Iraq.

Republican Senator Kit Bond says Bush was reiterating arguments that have won broad support on Capitol Hill. Democrat Jean Carnahan says she also plans to support the resolution on giving the President war-making powers, saying she believes Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat.

St. Louis, MO – Members of the judiciary and other public officials gathered at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica yesterday to participate in an observance that recognizes the legal profession.

St. Louis' annual Red Mass is a Roman Catholic tradition that seeks to confer guidance on judges and lawyers at the start of the judicial term. Archbishop Justin Rigali gave the mass and delivered words of encouragement: "May all of you who serve justice find inspiration for your work in the spirit of truth."

Truesdale, MO – A car that was fleeing police struck and killed an officer in Warren County yesterday afternoon.

Investigators say Truesdale police officer Vernon Seals died at a St. Louis area hospital after the crash on I-70. Police say they briefly stopped a car after a home invasion in Fulton, but the suspects fled. Their car then swerved out of control and hit Seals as he stood in a ditch.

The driver of the suspects' car was also killed, and a passenger is hospitalized. He faces possible charges.

Jefferson City, MO – After three years of legal challenges by abortion opponents, Planned Parenthood has been awarded about 600-thousand dollars in state contracts for family planning services.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services contracts awarded late last month include $352,000 to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and more than $243,000 to Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

Sedailia, MO – Eight years after impeachment ousted her from office, Democrat Judi Moriarty-Ebers is making a political comeback bid, trying to win a seat in the Missouri House.

Moriarty-Ebers was the state's first female secretary of state, and the only statewide official ever to be ousted after impeachment.

She's running against Republican incumbent Todd Smith, who voted to impeach her. Smith says he has no plans to bring up the past.

Creve Coeur, MO – Washington University researchers are using an area of St. Louis County as the site for a study on what elderly people need to live independently.
The area near the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur has a large percentage of elderly people and has been named one of nation's first Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or NORC's.
John Morris with Washington University's Center for Aging says no one has studied such communities to see what elderly people need to continue to live independently.

Springfield, IL – Lee Daniels says he believes House Republicans will choose a new leader who will unite the party in the face of a looming budget crisis.

He says he made the decision not to seek another term as leader of the Republican caucus in the Illinois House with a heavy heart.

But he says he's proud of the legislative accomplishments he and his colleagues have made.

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