Unformatted text preview: Asset forfeiture Asset forfeiture consists of the government's seizing of personal assets obtained from or used in a criminal enterprise. For example, an airplane may be seized if it was used in smuggling drugs into the country. Law enforcement usually keeps the assets. Both civil and criminal forfeiture are possible. Civil-forfeiture laws empower the government to take property without charging a person with a crime and without a criminal conviction. Property can be seized if police believe it was bought with profits of illegal activity or used to facilitate a crime. Police need only to show probable cause to seize property under civil law. If the owner wants to reclaim seized property, the owner usually has to file a lawsuit. At the trial in civil court, the burden of proof rests on the owner to prove the property is innocent by a preponderance of evidence a higher...
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- Fall '09
- attorney, American Civil Liberties Union, criminal forfeiture