Bureaucracy: $175 Fee to Get Back $171 Seized by Police

TRENTON (AP) -

A man who was arrested with $171 in his pocket prosecutors have said was either the proceeds of a criminal enterprise or would soon be used in one has been told he’ll have to pay a $175 filing fee to try to get the money back.

Prosecutors included Jermaine Mitchell in a civil action against 21 defendants charged to go after the money through civil forfeiture. But the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Mitchell, said the only thing those people have in common is that prosecutors are going after their money.

“They don’t allege conspiracy against most of these defendants,” said Rebecca Livengood, an ACLU staff attorney. “It’s certainly not that all the defendants are part of a common scheme.”