Over the past six weeks, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have filed legislation to overhaul or eliminate civil asset forfeiture, a controversial law enforcement tool that lets police seize cash and property from people who havent been convicted of a crime and in many cases, havent even been charged with one.
The wave of action touches both red and blue states, and suggests growing political and public opposition to the practice. Both the Republican and Democratic party platforms included civil forfeiture reform in 2016, another sign that its reaching the mainstream of U.S. politics.
Its absolutely a bipartisan issue, said Robert Johnson, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm that argues forfeiture should require a criminal conviction. Everybody realizes that the right to hold your property and the right to not have the government take your property for no good reason is something that all Americans hold dear.
Civil forfeiture has roots in the 17th ...