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Why Civil Forfeiture in Law Enforcement is an Effective Tool - Essay Example

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Civil forfeiture as a concept in jurisprudence had been used before to punish criminals but it came into disuse because it was a disproportionate punishment for a crime committed. A more modern version of the same principle was adopted by most countries in the world in an effort…
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Why Civil Forfeiture in Law Enforcement is an Effective Tool

is administered towards more rehabilitative efforts of reforming the criminals and integrating them back into society made it necessary they are given the means to get back on their feet. A modern version of this concept is not directed at an individual criminal but more on the crime syndicates by depriving them of their ill-gotten gains and compensate victims (Young 1).
There are two kinds of forfeitures being carried out today: criminal and civil cases. In the first case, criminal forfeitures are the result of a court settlement or a judicial award in that the convicted criminal is punished by taking away the assets after a conviction. In civil cases, the government files suit to recover a property item but not against the propertys owner. The owner himself is reduced to being a third-party claimant who has to prove the money used to buy or acquire the property came from legal or legitimate sources. The objectives of the new civil forfeiture laws are two-fold: deprive the criminals of the facilities and properties they use to commit their crime or furtherance of their criminal activities and use the proceeds of these seized properties to support law enforcement, such as hiring more cops or increasing a budget. An order for a civil forfeiture recovery case does not require a prior criminal conviction. The whole intent is to disable criminals from eventually resuming the activities (Edgeworth xxii).
The only requirement for filing a forfeiture case is probable cause a certain property is being used in criminal activities. A property owner, on the other hand, has to prove otherwise through a preponderance of evidence that it was acquired using legitimate sources of income. The new laws today reversed the situation in that it is now the government that has to prove it using a preponderance of evidence instead of the previous probable cause only that can be a source of abuse of power and arbitrariness on the part of law enforcement agencies. In other words, the ... Read More
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