State and federal law enforcement have used so-called civil asset forfeiture for years to take the money and assets of those they suspected were involved in criminal activity for years. As reported today on Marketplace, civil forfeitures are on the rise across the country:
Hottot said federal asset forfeiture has exploded over the last decade. In 2014, about $4.5 billion of assets were deposited into the Department of Justice’s forfeiture fund.
Under the “Equitable Sharing Program” local law enforcement can keep up to 80% of the assets they seize. This means law enforcement has more and more incentive to use civil asset forfeiture to seize funds, especially in cases where they don’t have evidence to prove the suspect was involved in a crime. Some argue that asset forfeiture is being used to fund chronically underfunded law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.
Read the full story here.