Justice Department resumes forfeiture sharing program
The U.S. Justice Department is resuming an equitable-sharing program that allowed local police to use federal law to seize property connected to criminal activity and keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds.
Critics had hoped the Justice Department’s suspension of the program in December was an indication the attorney general was seeking to curb the controversial forfeiture practices, the Washington Post reports. Many states opt for the federal program because federal law is more permissive than state law.
The actual reason for the suspension was economic; funding was cut due to budget cuts. Now the financial solvency of the program has improved, according to a spokesman.
Institute for Justice president Scott Bullock said he was disappointed and he hoped Congress would act to reform federal forfeiture law. “This really was about funding, not a genuine concern about the abuses rampant in the equitable sharing system,” he told the Post.