- Stop governments from taking citizens’ property through civil asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction.
Civil asset forfeiture is a tool of law enforcement whereby the suspected fruits of criminal activity can be seized and repurposed to combat future criminal activity. “Suspected” is a key term, as current Texas law doesn’t require government to prove in court that criminal activity actually took place — or even to arrest someone for such crimes. Instead, because such illicit activity attaches to the property itself in civil forfeiture cases, and not to the individual — which is a legal oddity — property can be taken and kept with far fewer legal hurdles than exist when an individual is accused of a crime.
“Given the seriousness of government divesting any individual of property, trusting government to self-report these activities — basically, an honor system — doesn’t inspire much confidence.”