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Op-ed Placement

Congress Must Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

02/22/2017
Originally Published in The Hill on 2/22/17.

Russ Caswell’s experience with civil asset forfeiture was “nothing more than an extortion plot.” The Tewksbury Police Department seized Motel Caswell, which his father built in 1955, because the property allegedly had a “substantial connection” to drug activity.

Civil asset forfeiture is the process through which law enforcement can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity. While law enforcement insists the forfeiture is a means to go after the profits of illicit activity, including the drug trade, there are many examples of misguided law enforcement permanently seizing the property of innocent people like Russ Caswell or simply going after money rather than drugs.