Ruling in drug case alarms law enforcement

Sunday, January 9th 2005, 3:59 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Law enforcement officials worry an appeals court ruling in a Tulsa cocaine case could jeopardize drug forfeiture money used to supplement their operations.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to review an opinion by John Reif. Reif is presiding judge of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.

Harris contends Reif erred when he ordered $1,780 returned to a man arrested on charges of dealing in cocaine. The money was confiscated in two separate drug arrests in which bags of cocaine also were seized by police officers.

Reif held that taking the money was a form of punishment. He says double jeopardy questions are raised by punishing a drug defendant by taking his money and then sending him to jail.