Originally published on Game Politics.
Civil Asset Forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement can seize private property of citizens without ever needing to charge those citizens of committing a crime. Laws governing civil forfeiture vary from state to state but most states allow officers to seize any amount of money or property and keep the proceeds for department use.
This procedure is highly controversial and has many proponents as well as critics. Most critics equate civil forfeiture with highway robbery, while the proponents consider it another tool to fight crime and pay for law enforcement.
One critic of these laws is the Institute for Justice, a Libertarian law firm that fights civil forfeiture and other laws. As part of their continued efforts to fight these laws and inform the public of their impact, IJ has released the results of a behavioral study (PDF) they performed that seeks to answer the question of whether these laws benefit or harm the public.