by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Writes JLF’s Jon Guze in his report on preventing asset forfeiture abuse in North Carolina:
For many years, the federal government has encouraged state and local police departments to take citizens’ property without regard for state law at all. Under a policy called “equitable sharing,” federal law enforcement agencies process property seized by state or local agencies and then, after taking a cut for their services – typically 20 percent – they return the remainder of the proceeds to the agency that made the seizure.
And North Carolina law enforcement agencies are participating at high rates.
Between 2007 and 2016, state and local law enforcement agencies in North Carolina collected more than $170 million in equitable sharing proceeds from the DOJ and Treasury.22 In per-capita terms, that number is higher than in most states, and it reflects the fact that North Carolina law enforcement agencies have been particularly aggressive about using equitable sharing to supplement their taxpayer-approved funding. As a result, the Institute for Justice ranks North Carolina among the very worst states when it comes to federal asset sharing.
Find out more details on North Carolina’s participation in equitable sharing, as Jon Guze makes the case that federal asset sharing puts innocent property owners at risk.