DOJ to Dramatically Change Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture

January 17, 2015

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Both Indiana and Federal law recognizes the ability of law enforcement to seize property that it maintains is traceable as proceeds of a violation of a criminal statute. However, Attorney General Eric Holder has recently announced that the Department of Justice would radically limit the Federal “Equitable Sharing” forfeiture program.

Under the Federal forfeiture program, certain assets could be seized by local law enforcement and then forfeited by federal agencies. The proceeds from the forfeiture would then be split up between local law enforcement and federal agencies. This program has resulted in billions of dollars of seized property being taken from individuals and then sold.

The Department of Justice’s change to the program would substantially limit the amount and types of assets to be forfeited; with exceptions for illegal firearms/ammunition, explosives, and property associated with child pornography. However, it is important to note that the Department of Justice’s reduction of their forfeiture program does not eliminate the State of Indiana’s ability to forfeit seized property under Indiana’s own forfeiture statute.

Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today if you have questions or believe your property was wrongfully seized or forfeited. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individual case. Act now and contact us today at (317) 857-0160.