Sharp Rise in Non-Drug Related Forfeiture Lawsuits
(04 Dec 2014) The latest available data from the federal courts show that during October 2014 the government reported 176 new asset forfeiture lawsuits concerning the seizure of property and assets in cases that were not drug-related. This number is up 179 percent over the previous month and up 25 percent from five years ago.

Most of the increase appears to be due to lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of such cases in October 2014. North Carolina is the only state in which the law does not provide for civil forfeiture, so it appears that in many instances local authorities are partnering with federal agencies to seize property without the more stringent burden of proof that would be required in a criminal case.

Relative to population, the Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh) led the nation with 29.7 non-drug related forfeiture lawsuits filed per one million people, compared with 0.6 such cases filed per million for the United States as a whole. Second was the Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) with 2.4 suits per million, followed by the District of Rhode Island (Providence) with 1.9 per million.

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