Until recently, civil forfeiture laws allowed police nationwide to permanently seize any property they alleged was involved in a crime. These seizures were generally grossly disproportionate to the alleged offense, and often occurred without ever arresting or convicting the property-owner of a crime. The types of property confiscated included money, cars, and real estate.
Despite its original purpose, police departments use forfeiture as a source of revenue rather than to prevent crime. For individuals whose property was seized through civil asset forfeiture, the process for challenging the forfeiture and regaining access to their property is notoriously difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
On February 20, 2019, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Timbs v. Indiana, holding that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause applies to state and local governments. As a consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision, state and local law enforcement’s ability to confiscate an individual’s personal property using civil forfeiture has been dramatically curtailed.
Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP is currently investigating state and local law enforcement departments nationwide for improperly seizing personal property using civil forfeiture programs.Attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP have successfully brought civil rights lawsuits on behalf of victims. If you or someone you know was a victim of civil forfeiture, please contact us immediately to discuss your legal options.