This week, the Department of Justice announced a troubling new directive to ramp up police seizures of cash and property under the controversial practice of civil forfeiture.
Civil asset forfeiture is a legal tool which allows law enforcement to seize property they believe has been involved in criminal activity. However, civil asset forfeiture is often used against those who have not even been charged with a crime.
States have recently successfully made small civil asset forfeiture reforms. Mississippi, Florida, Nebraska and New Hampshire have reigned in the practice by adding more transparency and limiting when law enforcement can seize property. Still, the DOJ’s decision is a disappointing setback.
In the American justice system, we believe in presumption of innocence for all people facing criminal charges. When police officials are allowed to seize property from individuals who, under the law, are still presumably innocent, there is something seriously wrong with our criminal justice system.
Young Americans don’t support a corrupt system of policing for profit that allows law enforcement to seize property without significant evidence to charge someone with a crime.
Generation Opportunity supports federal civil asset forfeiture reforms like those laid out in the DUE PROCESS Act (H.R. 1795), which help protect innocent victims from losing their right to due process.