After a lively debate, the Metropolitan Council of Nashville, Tennessee has agreed to renew its participation in a controversial federal civil asset forfeiture program called “equitable sharing.” Opponents from both the left and the right argue the program encourages “policing for profit.”
Civil asset forfeiture is the legal procedure where law enforcement can seize an individual’s property or cash without filing criminal charges. In most states, all that is required is the suspicion that the property was involved in a crime. In a criminal case, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. In Tennessee, in cases where a vehicle is seized, however, the burden of proving innocence lies with the property owner.