Should police be able to seize property from people before they're even charged for a crime? | The Tylt

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Should police be able to seize property from people before they're even charged for a crime?
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Civil asset forfeiture is a powerful tool to fight crime. It allows police departments to take cash from criminals and use it into police resources. It allows police to seize guns and other tools used for crime in order to immediately weaken criminal organizations. 

Sessions says the concerns about police seizing the property of innocent people are unfounded. He points out "four out of five administrative civil asset forfeitures filed by federal law enforcement agencies were never challenged in court." Civil asset forfeiture is a tool—it's only as good or bad as the people using it. Police departments must be careful when they're using these tools.

Sessions finished his speech in which he announced the new civil asset forfeiture rules by saying:

Finally, I am directing agencies and components adopting seized property to prioritize assets that will most effectively advance our overall goal of reducing violent crime. We need to send clear message that crime does not pay.
With this new policy, the American people can be confident knowing that we are taking action to defund criminals and at the same time protecting the rights of law-abiding people.
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However, civil asset forfeiture is so unpopular, it's the one thing that actually unites Democrats and Republicans. As the graphic below from the Washington Post shows, asset forfeitures have surpassed burglaries. That means police are taking more money and property from people who have not been charged with a crime than actual criminals. 

Asset forfeiture is not a benign tool like Sessions says. It creates a conflict of interest for police officers—one that's particularly hard to resist. Cash-strapped police departments have a huge incentive to seize assets from people to fund new projects and equipment. 

At a more fundamental level, asset forfeiture violates the right to due process. Police are seizing property from citizens because they merely suspect there was some criminal wrongdoing. That's not how our justice system works. If the police want to take a person's assets, they should go through the judicial system. Otherwise, what's the point of having courts? 

The way asset forfeiture is being implemented at the federal level is also unconstitutional. Despite the practice being banned in several states, the federal government has set up a system that allows police departments to circumvent state laws and take the assets anyway. This is a clear violation of the 10th Amendment and state's rights. 

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Should police be able to seize property from people before they're even charged for a crime?
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