It can be difficult and burdensome for a person to fight the necessary legal battle to regain possession of their property, even if that person is innocent. Moreover, law enforcement agencies may profit from seized assets, allowing them to raise revenue at the expense of innocent citizens.
- NACDL's Model Asset Forfeiture Legislation
- NACDL's Asset Forfeiture Resolution
- Pending State Legislation
- Priority Federal Legislation
- Congressional Hearings (see video and written testimonies)
- Letters of Support
- End Civil Forfeiture – The Institute for Justice's Initiative to End Policing for Profit
John Oliver on Civil Forfeiture
Comedian John Oliver discussed civil asset forfeiture on his program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, highlighting some of the consequences of the current law in various cases. (Aired October 5, 2014)
The Washington Post's Multi-Part Series on Forfeiture Reform (September-October 2014)
Part 1: Stop and seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes — After Sept. 11, 2001, a cottage industry of private police trainers emerged to teach aggressive techniques of highway interdiction to thousands of local and state police.
Part 2: Police intelligence targets cash: Reports on drivers, training by firm fueled law enforcement agressiveness — One training firm started a private intelligence-sharing network and helped shape law enforcement nationwide.
Part 3: They found the law. Who won?: Many drivers faced a long ordeal in court to try to get their money back from police — Motorists caught up in the seizures talk about the experience and the legal battles that could take over a year.
Part 4: Asset seizures fuel police spending — Police agencies nationwide routinely buy vehicles and weapons with money and property seized under federal civil forfeiture law from people who were not charged with a crime.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
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A Defender's Guide to Federal Evidence - 2nd Edition
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Articles from The Champion®
Taking the Profit Out of Crime: Forfeiture
Part I: The Basics
According to the government, the goal of forfeiture is to take the profit out of crime. The government seeks to take private assets – including cash and real property – that it claims constitute the proceeds of criminal activity. Steven L. Kessler discusses some of the basics every attorney should know about forfeiture.
- Forfeiture Money Judgments: Will the Supreme Court Clamp Down
Harjo v. City of Albuquerque: A Road Map for Challenging Government Forfeiture Programs
The city of Albuquerque seized Arlene Harjo’s car after her son borrowed it and was arrested for DUI. Her case shows that a forfeiture statute may appear constitutional on its face but, in actuality, may provide improper financial incentives to prosecutors and police to seize citizens’ property for their own or their organization’s benefit. The Harjo case offers lessons on how to successfully mount a due process challenge to forfeiture statutes.
Criminal Forfeiture Case Law Updates
Asset forfeiture – also called “policing for profit” – has come under scrutiny from courts and legislatures. Elliot Abrams provides defense lawyers with recent updates to forfeiture law, primarily focusing on pretrial seizure and attorney’s fees. Courts are taking a hard look at forfeiture and pretrial seizures, and lawyers should continue bringing statutory challenges to actions that appear to violate statutory language or a defendant’s fundamental rights.
News of Interest
- "Nevada Supreme Court won’t rule on civil forfeiture challenge after settlement,"
- "After police seized Marine vet's life savings, ruling brings him closer to saving others from civil forfeiture,"
- "Kansas police searched their car without a warrant, and they lost custody of their son,"
- "'Hard Row to Hoe': Skeptical Supreme Court Hears Demand for Quick Forfeiture Hearings,"