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Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Goes Mainstream

November 17, 2014
By Jordan Richardson

Civil asset forfeiture enables law enforcement agencies to seize money and property that they suspect is being used to commit a crime or represents profits from criminal activity.

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Civil asset forfeiture enables law enforcement agencies to seize money and property that they suspect is being used to commit a crime or represents profits from criminal activity. Law enforcement agencies do not need to convict or even charge the property owner to make these seizures. Civil asset forfeiture was intended to be used as a tool to combat organized crime, but now law enforcement officers target property and property owners on the mere suspicion of wrongdoing. The number of civil asset forfeiture abuses—and some particularly egregious cases—have drawn the attention of news media and even late-night comedians. The increased attention being paid to this problem may lead to real reform.