Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced it will reinstate “adoptive forfeiture” policy, opening the gates for expanded civil asset forfeiture across the country.
Coalition for Public Safety President Steven Hawkins commented: “This directive is a huge step backward for justice reform in this country. The justice system should prosecute the guilty and protect the innocent. The expansion of civil asset forfeiture encourages corruption and ignores innocence by creating perverse incentives for law enforcement. Policy like this is ultimately harmful, not helpful.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s policy allows state and local law enforcement to appeal to federal law to override stricter, more protective state forfeiture laws. Federal policy allows property to be seized from citizens even prior to being formally charged of criminal activity. Adoptive forfeiture was cut off under former Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to curb police abuse of asset forfeiture.