Supreme Court limits states’ ability to seize private property involved in crimes

In the 26 states and District of Columbia that report forfeiture activity, law enforcement agencies collected more than $254 million in funds and property in 2012 alone, according to an analysis by the Institute for Justice, a non-profit libertarian public interest law firm.

“Increasingly, our justice system has come to rely on fines, fees and forfeitures to fund law enforcement agencies rather than having to answer to elected officials for their budgets,” said Scott Bullock, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice. “We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court established that the U.S. Constitution secures meaningful protections for private property and limits the government’s ability to turn law enforcement into revenue generators.”