Police in Richland, Mississippi have taken advantage of civil forfeiture laws, netting the city more than $2.3 million in 2014, and they have a lot to show for it.
A new police station, that cost the city $4.1 million, and a top-of-the-line training center, complimented by a new fleet of Dodge Chargers, paid for by all the cash and property seized.
Gianfrancesco Genoso noted that civil forfeitures have become instant revenue for law enforcement.
Although it has been useful in the management of assets derived from drug trafficking or “white collar” crimes like that of the Bernie Madoff fraud civil forfeiture has in many cases become a perverse incentive.
To justify confiscation, law enforcement must only demonstrate a “reasonable doubt” about the legality of the activities of the owners. Civil forfeiture cases are heard in a Civil Court, and burden of proof falls upon the owner. The owner must prove his innocence with a demand for the return of his property.
The crux of the problem is police are not violating any laws, its the laws that allow them to do this.