With Donald Trump’s ascension to power in the White House, there has been and will continue to be a great deal of policy debate in the wake of the regime change. Many, of course, are uncomfortable with the direction Trump plans to take the country, and haven’t been shy about voicing opposition.
One of the issues that has been broached in recent days in the ongoing Trump saga is that of civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture laws, as readers may know, allow law enforcement in many states to confiscate property suspected to be connected to criminal activity. The property owner has the opportunity to challenge the confiscation in a forfeiture action, but many property owners end up not pursuing the process, particularly if the confiscated amount is smaller than the cost of going to court.
In the past week, the issue came up merely as a joke President Trump shared with a Texas Sheriff who complained of attempts by local lawmakers to reform civil forfeiture laws. Apparently a Senator in that state is considering proposing legislation that would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement could actually take possession of property. Fortunately, Minnesota passed such a rule back in 2014.
Those who have done any research into the topic of civil asset forfeiture know it is an area rife with abuse and that legislative reform is absolutely needed to protect property owners. Those who have had property or money wrongly confiscated by law enforcement on the suspicion that it is connected to criminal activity, especially indebted consumers, should always work with experienced legal counsel to address both the civil and criminal aspects of asset forfeiture to ensure their rights and interests are protected and advocated.