Arresting Your Property: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Turns Police Into Profiteers
Civil asset forfeiture is a law enforcement tool with a dark side. Meant to ensure that “crime does not pay,” civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize property they merely suspect was involved in criminal activity. In many states, law enforcement authorities can keep whatever they seize as profits—leading some agencies to treat civil forfeiture as a way to raise revenue, often at the expense of innocent property owners. Every American knows that in a court of law they are innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture flips this on its head: Your property is guilty until you prove your own innocence. Arresting Your Property highlights egregious examples of cops seizing homes, money, and cars on dubious grounds. Fortunately, federal and state reforms can stop the abuse of this law enforcement tool, restoring due process protections for citizens caught in civil forfeiture’s pernicious web.