Civil Asset Forfeiture : A Powerful Weapon Against Crime

1037 Words Dec 7th, 2014 5 Pages
Jack Toole
Mrs. Mannion
AP English Language
8 December 2014
Civil Asset Forfeiture
In the past three decades the United States has developed a powerful weapon against crime, civil asset forfeiture. Rooted in the British practice of issuing writs of assistance during colonial times, civil asset forfeiture allows the United States government to confiscate assets associated with criminal activity, without charging a suspect with a crime. Civil asset forfeiture has made possible the success seen by law enforcement agencies in the war on drugs (Reid). Despite its success, civil asset forfeiture has become a colossal problem. Police departments may keep the funds they seize with few stipulations on how they are used. The resulting abuse of civil asset forfeiture and the assets confiscated under the law must be stopped.
Widespread abuse of civil asset forfeiture began in the period following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The federal government called on state and local police departments to become more active in protecting homeland security. In response, the police forces of the United States developed aggressive policing tactics to locate drugs, illegal weapons, and suspicious persons. One of the most prevalent of the new tactics is highway interdiction. During a highway interdiction police stop a vehicle under the pretense of a minor traffic violation and attempt to find probable cause for searching the vehicle. If officers find large amounts of currency or other possible…
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