“Asset forfeiture ‘has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses…because the law enforcement entity responsible for seizing the property often keeps it, these entities have strong incentives to pursue forfeiture.” Statement of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
In March, the U. S. Supreme Court refused to take on Leonard v. Texas, a civil asset forfeiture case. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in protest, issued a statement that the asset forfeiture law, in his opinion, is not compatible with the U. S. Constitution.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled a few days ago on a civil asset forfeiture case in favor of a couple whose funds had been seized by law enforcement.
Reason.com by Damon Root
The Supreme Court offered no explanation when it refused to hear Leonard v. Texas. But one member of the Court did speak up in protest. In a statement respecting the denial of certiorari, Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear that in his view modern asset forfeiture law is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. Yesterday, one of the most influential federal appellate courts in the country—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—signaled its agreement with Thomas’ assessment in a notable decision in favor of an innocent couple fighting for the return of $17,900 in cash seized by the police.
As Thomas explained in Leonard v. Texas, “this system—where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use—has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses….”
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