Steven Greenhut on Why Asset Forfeiture Abuse Is on the Rise


We've all become accustomed to the police increasing their ticket-writing to backfill their budgets, writes Steven Greenhut, but civil forfeiture laws have taken the profiteering to a new and disturbing level. If, for instance, your neighbor borrowed your green Buick and sold some marijuana to an undercover agent, the law enforcement agency can seize the car. The owner might not have done anything wrong, but the car was indeed used in the commission of a crime. And law enforcement knows that it's so costly for people to fight their forfeiture proceedings that many victims simply cede the property without a fight. As Greenhut explains, the time has come to build a wall of separation between government power and the profit motive.