Skip Navigation
Back to PolicyBot

Civil Asset Forfeiture, Equitable Sharing, and Policing for Profit in the United States

March 23, 2011
By Jefferson E. Holcomb, Tomislav V. Kovandzic, and Marian R. Williams

In this study—published in the Journal of Criminal Justice in 2011—Appalachian State University Department of Government and Justice Studies professors Jefferson E. Holcomb and Marian R.

vote pins

In this study—published in the Journal of Criminal Justice in 2011—Appalachian State University Department of Government and Justice Studies professors Jefferson E. Holcomb and Marian R. Williams; and University of Texas-Dallas School of Economic, Political and Policy Studies professor Tomislav V. Kovandzic study the empirical effects of civil asset forfeiture reform on law enforcement activities.

In the study, the professors write “there is substantial anecdotal evidence that law enforcement utilize a variety of tactics to generate the greatest revenue from their forfeiture operations,” a hypothesis which their analysis of U.S. Department of Justice statistics confirmed.

“In particular, the idea that complex organizations seek to maximize financial revenues and minimize the effort necessary to obtain resources is not surprising,” they write. “The powerful incentives for profit-seeking found within forfeiture current laws is criticized as encouraging inappropriate enforcement activities and detracting from the proper role of law enforcement within a democratic state.”