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The Champion

April 2019 , Page 34 

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Criminal Forfeiture Case Law Updates

By Elliot Abrams

Forfeiting assets has increasingly become a goal of federal and state law enforcement operations. In 2014, for example, DOJ took $4.5 billion through forfeitures, up from $580 million in 2005.1 

This increased focus on what has become known as “policing for profit” has brought scrutiny from the public, the legislature, and, more recently, the courts.

The goal of this article is to provide defense counsel with recent updates to forfeiture law, primarily focusing on issues related to pretrial seizure and attorney’s fees from cases such as Kaley v. United States (SCOTUS), Luis v. United States (SCOTUS) and United States v. Chamberlain (Fourth Circuit). This article also discusses the current and potential future impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Honeycutt v. United States and Timbs v. Indiana.

To fully understand the changes to the legal landscape wrought by recent cases, it is important to lay some groundwork by briefly setting forth the difference between civil and criminal

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