Holder announces changes to asset forfeiture program
Published January 16, 2015
Attorney General Eric Holder is curbing the federal government's role in a civil asset forfeiture program involving local and state law enforcement agencies.
Holder says federal agencies will no longer take possession of assets seized by local law enforcement, unless the property includes firearms or and other materials that concern public safety.
The Justice Department has long allowed local law enforcement agencies to turn over seized assets to the federal government and then share in the proceeds.
The program was developed at a time when most states didn't have their own asset forfeiture laws and didn't have legal authority to forfeit seized assets.
But Holder says because all states now have civil or criminal asset forfeiture laws, it's no longer necessary for local law enforcement to turn over seized property.
Police departments across the country could be seen with their fingers flying across their pocket calculators.