In February 2014, the DEA seized $11,000 from Charles Clarke, a college student, who was never convicted of any crime. The DEA seized Clarke’s money using a process known as civil forfeiture, and he still hasn’t gotten any of the money back. While noticeably egregious, The Institute For Justice demonstrates that Clarke’s case doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s being called “policing for profit”.
Civil forfeiture is a procedure that allows law enforcement agencies in the United States to seize property without convicting a person of a crime. The government doesn’t even need to charge a person with a crime to seize property under civil forfeiture. The government merely needs to suspect the assets are related to a crime to seize them. The most important (and unfair) aspect of civil forfeiture is the idea that civil forfeiture is an action taken against specific assets, and not against individuals.
Also listen to: Podcast Episode 9: Marijuana and Bitcoin
A person accused