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IPFS News Link • Forfeiture & Seizure

Why civil asset forfeiture simply won't die

• By Robert Gebelhoff

He has long been one of the rare advocates for the policy, a vestige of the war on drugs restricted by the Obama administration that allowed local and state law enforcement officials to use federal law to seize (and keep) property suspected of crime.

But his announcement last week that the Justice Department was expanding the practice nonetheless perfectly illustrates the stubborn persistence of civil asset forfeiture. Liberals and conservatives alike despise it: Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Charles Koch Institute have lobbied against it, achieving legitimate success at both the federal and state levels. Meanwhile, supporters of civil forfeiture — almost exclusively from the law enforcement community — are few and far between.

Yet civil asset forfeiture refuses to die. It remains an embarrassing fixture of our criminal-justice system — wandering like a zombie with an affinity for pickpocketing.

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