Civil forfeiture allows police and prosecutors to seize private property—cars, cash, homes—that they suspect is involved with criminal activity. But unlike criminal forfeiture, with civil forfeiture a person need not be convicted of or even charged with a crime to lose his property. Moreover, in most states and under federal law, police and prosecutors who take property get to keep some or all of the proceeds for their departments—giving them an incentive to pursue profits, not justice. This has led many to believe that the laws violate private property rights and due process. Prosecutors counter that civil forfeiture laws allow them to remove the tools and means from criminals for committing crimes.
In this teleforum, Institute for Justice senior attorney Scott Bullock, who leads the Institute’s project challenging civil forfeiture, and former DOJ official and now private defense counsel, David B. Smith, the author of the leading treatise on litigating civil forfeiture cases, Prosecution and Defense of Forfeiture Cases, will discuss how forfeiture works and how these laws are abused at the state and federal levels.
- Mr. Scott G. Bullock, Institute for Justice
- Mr. David B. Smith, Smith & Zimmerman PLLC
Call begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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