Police Profiteering

(Police Profiteering) "In sum, the present study found that law enforcement agencies in jurisdictions with more restrictive or less rewarding state forfeiture laws receive greater forfeiture proceeds through federal equitable sharing. These results provide compelling evidence that law enforcement agencies consider the legal burdens and financial rewards of their own state law compared to those under federal equitable sharing in determining how to process asset seizures.

'Equitable Sharing'

('Equitable Sharing') "In 1984, Congress passed the Comprehensive Forfeiture Act, which vastly expanded the federal government’s forfeiture powers.169 The Act also created 'equitable sharing,' a process by which federal agencies 'adopt' forfeiture cases from state law enforcement agencies.170 Equitable sharing is used when federal forfeiture is more favorable to state and local police, which usually occurs when state law mandates that law enforcement keep a smaller amount than that available under equitable sharing.171 Perhaps of mor

Law Enforcement Use of Waivers and Contracts to Avoid Courts for Forfeitures

(Law Enforcement Use of Waivers and Contracts to Avoid Courts for Forfeitures) "In a growing and disturbing trend among state and local police, some law enforcement agencies now use contracts and waivers to obtain property, a practice that permits them to avoid forfeiture proceedings altogether. Generally, owners waive any interest in their property in exchange for the agency’s promise not to pursue criminal charges.

"Reverse Stings"

("Reverse Stings") "The advent of a now common police tactic, called the “reverse sting,” illustrates the shift in priorities from crime control to funding raids.107 In a reverse sting, an officer attempts to sell drugs to an unsuspecting buyer.108 The method permits the police to seize the buyer’s cash rather than a seller’s drugs, which have no value to the agency.109"

Growth in Asset Seizures

(Growth in Asset Seizures) "CAFRA [Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act] has not reduced the amount of annual forfeitures. In fact, the value of assets seized annually by the federal government has risen substantially since CAFRA was passed: in 1985, $27 million was deposited into the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund.67 A decade later in 1996, four years before CAFRA and during the period that motivated Rep.

Legislative History

(Legislative History) "In 1970, Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.45 This Act included a provision authorizing the government to seize drugs, drug manufacturing and storage equipment, and items used to transport drugs.46 Later, Congress passed legislation broadening forfeiture laws to include proceeds from drug transactions47 and real property.48 Then in 1984, Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, further expanding federal prosecutors’ ability to seize assets.49

Forfeiture in Drug Cases

(Forfeiture in Drug Cases) "The statutes pertaining to drug offenses authorize the forfeiture of more than just the proceeds of the offense. Under 21 U.S.C. §§ 853(a) and 881(a) (criminal and civil forfeiture, respectively), a court may order the forfeiture of both the drug proceeds and any real or personal property used to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, the drug offense. These are the statutes that a federal law enforcement agency or federal prosecutor would use to take a car, boat, gun, airplane, or farm, away from a drug dealer.