The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution guards American citizens against illegal search and seizure of property. But when a law enforcement official does initially have reasonable cause, what happens to the property (including cash) after it is determined no crime was committed after all?
This is at the heart of the issue with civil asset forfeiture. And it is being addressed in many states, including New Jersey. As this blog recently covered, in January 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S1963) requiring disclosure and transparency requirements for civil asset forfeiture. New Jersey joins a number of states that have moved in this direction at the request of several citizens’ watchdog groups, including the ACLU-NJ and Americans for Prosperity and the AFP Foundation.