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ALBANY — Applying a brake to the confiscation power of law enforcement officials, an upstate judge ruled Tuesday that the Columbia County district attorney had no authority to seize a truck driven by a drunk driver.

Prosecutors were not seeking permanent forfeiture of the vehicle, but rather to retain it as potential evidence until criminal proceedings against the driver are completed. But Supreme Court Justice John G. Connor of Hudson found that the truck was not necessary evidence and that the seizure deprived the owner of property without due process.

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