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February 5, 2018


Monday, February 05, 2018

Civil Forfeiture in Minnesota
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

This presentation will discuss the expanding issue of civil forfeiture in the United States and Minnesota.

Americans threatened with civil forfeiture face an appalling lack of due process that treats property owners worse than criminals:

Profit Incentive: In 43 states, police and prosecutors can keep anywhere from half to all of the proceeds they take in from civil forfeiture—a clear incentive to police for profit.

Equitable Sharing: Under a federal program called “equitable sharing,” local and state law enforcement can bypass state laws that limit civil forfeiture. By collaborating with a federal agency, they can move to forfeit property under federal law and take up to 80 percent of what the property is worth. Granting law enforcement a direct financial stake in forfeiture encourages profiteering and not the pursuit of justice.

Burden of Proof: Nearly all states and the federal government require far less evidence than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for criminal convictions.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: While many civil forfeiture laws do have a process for innocent owners to reclaim their property, all too often the burden of proof is on the owner—not the government. Therefore, under civil forfeiture, property owners have to prove their innocence and show that they were not aware of any criminal activity.

Presented by Lee McGrath - William Mitchell Alum and Managing Attorney at the Institute for Justice.

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