Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'Policing for profit' report documents the nationwide abuse of civil forfeiture

ARLINGTON, Virginia (Institute for Justice) - It's called policing for profit and it's happening all across America.

Police and prosecutors' offices seize private property — often without ever charging the owners with a crime — then keep or sell what they've taken and use the profits to fund their budgets. And considering law enforcement officials in most states don't report the value of what they collect or how that bounty is spent, the issue raises serious questions about both government transparency and accountability.

Under state and federal civil asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement agencies can seize and keep property suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, however, with civil forfeiture, a property owner need not be found guilty of a crime — or even charged—to permanently lose her cash, car, home or other property.

(Full story)

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