From: Grant Smith – Drug Policy Alliance <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For decades, law enforcement agencies have taken advantage of federal asset forfeiture laws — enacted during the height of drug war hysteria in the 1980s — to seize cash, cars, and other property from unsuspecting people without even charging them with a crime.
And then what do they do with the cash and property they seize? They keep it for themselves.
If anyone else did this we would call it highway robbery, but thanks to laws meant to fight the war on drugs, it’s all technically legal.
A vast majority of Americans want Congress to end this brutish practice, and now momentum is mounting for bipartisan reform. But it’s pivotal that we enact real reform — no one should have their property seized unless they are convicted of a crime in a court of law.
Law enforcement officials nationwide have taken in $2.5 billion from nearly 62,000 cash seizures under the federal civil forfeiture program since 2001.
And who do they target the most? Those unable to afford a lawyer to fight back.
This must end now. The government should not be able to seize property without a criminal conviction.
Deputy Director, National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance