by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
From Rocky Mount Telegram reporter Lindell John Kay:
A North Carolina conservative think tank wants local authorities to stop seizing property under federal law due to threats to property rights and due process while law enforcement leaders in the Twin Counties contend asset forfeiture spares taxpayer dollars and makes criminals pay.
The John Locke Foundation issued a recent report titled “Preventing Asset Forfeiture Abuse in North Carolina,” which raises concerns about local agencies receiving proceeds from participation in federal civil asset forfeiture equitable sharing programs.
Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that allows law enforcement agencies to confiscate property that law enforcement officers suspect has been used for or derived from criminal activity.
“The owner of the property need not be charged with, let alone convicted of, committing a crime. In fact, the owner need not even be a suspect to have his property seized,” said Jon Guze, the foundation’s director of legal studies and author of the report. He urged local agencies to halt working with the federal government in such a manner.
In his report, Jon makes a compelling case for ending the federal equitable sharing arrangement.