Drug-trafficking conviction results in forfeiture of cashBy BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent
August 18. 2018 6:40PM
LACONIA - A judge has granted the state's request that $6,472 in alleged profits from drug sales seized from a Tilton man be forfeited.
In March, Timothy Raxter, 53, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for methamphetamine trafficking and gun possession as a convicted felon.
On Thursday in Belknap County Superior Court, Judge James D. O'Neill III ruled that he was not persuaded by Raxter's contention that a brain injury suffered in a 2012 motorcycle crash impaired his comprehension and memory. As a result, Raxter said he did not contest the state's forfeiture petition until after a default judgment had been issued.
The legal maneuver to confiscate money, known as civil asset forfeiture, is a controversial tactic that law enforcement says helps ensure criminal rings are starved of cash. It is also a maneuver that comes under fire for abuse and questionable seizures.
Raxter admitted that he received the court documents filed in the forfeiture action but claimed he mistakenly assumed the attorney representing him in the federal criminal charges arising from the same incident was also representing him in the ownership issue of the seized cash.
Judge O'Neill held that even if Raxter considered the federal criminal charges and the state forfeiture action as one case, his explanation failed to justify why he waited nearly a year before ultimately speaking with his attorney about the numerous documents he received from Belknap County Superior Court. The judge further noted in his ruling that Raxter had been found competent to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Concord.
Raxter initially failed to respond to the forfeiture notice or have his lawyer do so. He most recently claimed the money was the profits from gambling.
Civil asset forfeiture cases can be brought in either state or federal court, with each system having its own guidelines. Two years ago, state lawmakers tightened the statute, allowing seizures only after a person has been convicted of a crime. Previously, civil forfeiture occurred even when criminal charges had been dismissed or were never filed.