#22: When Legal Seizures Become Theft: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws Undermine Good Policing


The U.S. is the land of due process and constitutional rights. So how do police get the right to seize the property of citizens without criminal convictions, often without even criminal charges? The answer is civil asset forfeiture: an old tool designed to take away the ill-gotten gains of big-time criminals, but it’s morphed into a way for police departments to seize money and property from regular people and keep it to fund their own operations.

Guest Angela Erickson is with the Institute for Justice, a non-profit organization that has worked to expose the injustice of civil asset forfeiture. The Institute’s special report, “Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” shines a powerful light on how we got here and why civil asset forfeiture must go.

Check out the Washington Post series “Stop and Seize" here.