The Institute for Justice recently published the third edition of its “Policing for Profit” report, a document that analyses civil forfeiture policies across the US and gives each state a scorecard based on how favorable its laws are for property owners.
U.S. Attorney Justin Herman confirmed that his office collected $28,603,085 in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year 2020. Of that amount, approximately $21 million was collected from civil actions, and almost $7 million was collected from criminal actions.
In the third edition of its “Policing for Profit” report, the Institute for Justice takes a look at every state’s civil asset forfeiture laws and the amount of forfeiture proceeds collected since 2000, based on publicly available information.
Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that allows law enforcement agencies to seize property they suspect is linked to criminal activity, sometimes even without charging the property owner with a crime. It is different from criminal forfeiture, which requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an owner is guilty of a crime and that the property is connected to the case.
A recent report on the state of civil forfeiture in the U.S. has given Pennsylvania a near-failing grade, calling for greater reforms for the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.
Civil asset forfeiture is a legal tool that gives law enforcement agencies the ability to seize assets from individuals suspected of committing a crime or being involved in illegal activity, even if the property owner has not been formally charged with wrongdoing.
In December 2020, the Institute for Justice (IJ), a Virginia-based public interest law firm, released the third edition of its “Policing for Profit” report, a document alleging unwarranted punitive seizures through the civil asset forfeiture process across the country.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed 13 bills on December 30, including legislation that would have allowed airport authorities to use civil asset forfeiture to seize property from travelers without charging them with a crime.
Civil asset forfeiture is a process used by state and federal law enforcement agencies to seize property they believe is linked to criminal activity, even if the owner isn’t charged. The practice has been a key tool in the War on Drugs and is often touted as a critical means of financially hamstringing major drug traffickers.