On Tuesday’s episode of The Daily Show, correspondent Jordan Klepper exposed the bizarre world of civil forfeiture, where people who have never been charged with a crime can lose their property to the police. Not only that, but once the police seize your property, they can keep it, sell it and use it to pad law enforcement budgets. As Klepper put it, “So you can pull over someone on the highway, take their stuff, and this is legal?”
Down in Texas, Klepper interviewed Jennifer Boatright, who faced a truly terrifying case of civil forfeiture: Police “gave us the ultimatum that we can either give them our money or they would take our children away,” she said.
The segment also featured news clips of cases litigated by the Institute for Justice, including a motel owner in Massachusetts, a grocery store owner in Michigan, and a small businessman in Texas, who have all battled civil forfeiture.
Back in 2010, IJ released Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture, a groundbreaking survey of civil forfeiture laws in all 50 states and on the federal level. Unfortunately, only three states earned a B or above.