Every American knows that in a court of law they are innocent until proven guilty. But that isn’t the case for the accused’s property.
The procedure known as civil asset forfeiture is one of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today. It means the government can seize someone’s property on suspicion of a crime — even if the accused is not yet proven guilty.
The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies just released a new informational booklet on civil asset forfeiture. Arresting Your Property: How Civil A$$ET Forfeiture Turns Police Into Profiteers explains what the law is and also provides common-sense reforms to stop the abuse of this law enforcement tool. Here’s a brief description of the unfair law:
Meant to ensure that “crime does not pay,” civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize property they merely suspect was involved in criminal activity. In many states, law enforcement authorities can keep whatever they seize as profits—leading some agencies to treat civil forfeiture as a way to raise revenue, often at the expense of innocent property owners.
Arresting Your Property: How Civil A$$ET Forfeiture Turns Police Into Profiteers takes a deep dive into how civil forfeiture is a law enforcement tool with a dark side where the government can take and sell your property without ever convicting, or even charging, you with a crime.
Be sure to click this link to learn more about the history of forfeiture, how hard it is fight a seizure, the perverse profit incentives for law enforcement, and shocking examples of cops seizing homes, money, and cars on dubious grounds.
Do you think civil asset forfeiture is justified? Or do you think it’s a threat to property rights?