Imagine a world where police officers regularly confiscate property from civilians, based only on officers’ accusations of criminal conduct. Imagine that these allegations are never examined by a judge and that charges of criminal conduct are often never even filed.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to imagine anything, because that is the world we live in.
This is the topsy-turvy world of civil seizure and forfeiture – where just the suspicion of criminal conduct by a law enforcement officer is enough for the seizure of property. Just an accusation can be sufficient proof to seize, for example, a car, a house, or a purse containing currency – and for the property’s eventual forfeiture to the government.