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Asset forfeiture in The Economist

On April 2, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Eapen Thampy

Nice paragraph today, the rest of the article is worth a read:

IN 2010 federal prosecutors seized nearly $2 billion in forfeited assets—that is, property deemed to be used in or derived from a crime. That is more than six times the amount seized just 21 years earlier. A 2010 report by the Institute for Justice explains that “legal procedures [tend to] make civil forfeiture relatively easy for the government and hard for property owners to fight.” In theory, asset forfeiture has some value: nobody wants to let people keep ill-gotten gains. In practice, however, the requirements for police to take someone’s property tend to be pretty flimsy: certainly flimsier than the standards for convicting them of a crime. And this disparity creates a troubling incentive, and some believe it violates Fifth Amendment protections against being deprived of property without due process.

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