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Alaska

Alaska

Alaska earns a D+ for its civil forfeiture laws:

Standard of Proof

Low bar to forfeit: Once the government seizes property, the owner must prove by preponderance of the evidence that it is not connected to a crime.

Innocent Owner Burden

Poor protections for the innocent: Third-party owners must prove their own innocence to recover seized property.

Financial Incentive

Large profit incentive: In general, up to 75% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement; 100% in cases of non-monetary property worth $5,000 or less.

Recent Reforms

  • None.

Recommendations

  • End civil forfeiture
  • Direct all forfeiture proceeds to a non-law enforcement fund
  • Strengthen protections for innocent third-party owners
  • Close the equitable sharing loophole
  • Adopt strong transparency and accountability requirements

State and Federal Forfeiture Revenues, 2000-2019

Between 2000 and 2019, Alaska law enforcement agencies generated more than $19 million in forfeiture revenue from federal equitable sharing. Alaska ranks 15th for its participation in the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. The state does not prevent state and local agencies from using equitable sharing to circumvent state forfeiture law.

At least $19 million in federal forfeiture revenue
2000–2019

Year Alaska Forfeiture Revenues Dept. of Justice Equitable Sharing Proceeds Treasury Equitable Sharing Proceeds Total Equitable Sharing Proceeds
2000 Unknown $497,162 $26,000 $523,162
2001 Unknown $291,732 $0 $291,732
2002 Unknown $656,799 $3,000 $659,799
2003 Unknown $781,954 $51,000 $832,954
2004 Unknown $419,726 $0 $419,726
2005 Unknown $704,298 $5000 $709,298
2006 Unknown $1,096,715 $136,000 $1,232,715
2007 Unknown $2,238,822 $401,000 $2,639,822
2008 Unknown $562,221 $27,000 $589,221
2009 Unknown $1,011,057 $180,000 $1,191,057
2010 Unknown $920,725 $0 $920,725
2011 Unknown $842,849 $4,000 $846,849
2012 Unknown $1,359,455 $141,000 $1,500,455
2013 Unknown $461,063 $2,572,000 $3,033,063
2014 Unknown $775,878 $186,000 $961,878
2015 Unknown $853,645 $0 $853,645
2016 Unknown $577,225 $0 $577,225
2017 Unknown $233,542 $6,000 $239,542
2018 Unknown $325,080 $37,000 $362,080
2019 Unknown $997,851 $92,000 $1,089,851
Totals $0 $15,607,799 $3,867,000 $19,474,799

All revenue figures include both civil and criminal forfeitures. Revenues are not adjusted for inflation.

Alaska's Forfeiture Transparency and Accountability Report Card

Tracking Seized Property

F

Accounting for Forfeiture Fund Spending

F

Statewide Forfeiture Reports

F

Accessibility of Forfeiture Records

F

Penalties for Failure to File a Report

Incomplete

Financial Audits of Forfeiture Accounts

F

No reporting requirements to enforce.

For full transparency and accountability grades, visit www.ij.org/TransparencyReportCards.

Forfeitures Under Alaska Law: Key Facts

Median Value

UNKNOWN

Alaska does not report property-level data necessary to calculate median forfeiture value.

Property Types

UNKNOWN

Alaska does not report the types of property forfeited.

Civil vs. Criminal

UNKNOWN

Alaska does not report whether forfeitures are processed under civil or criminal forfeiture law.

Expenditures

UNKNOWN

Alaska does not report how forfeiture funds are spent.

Data Notes and Legal Sources

Data Notes

No statewide records available. Agencies are not required to report forfeiture activity. Equitable sharing data are from DOJ’s and Treasury’s annual forfeiture reports.

Legal Sources

Standard of proof: The government must show probable cause for the seizure, and the owner must show that the property is not forfeitable by a preponderance of the evidence.

Resek v. State, 706 P.2d 288, 290–91 (Alaska 1985); see also Alaska Stat. §§ 17.30.110, .114(a).

Innocent owner burden: Owner.

Resek v. State, 706 P.2d 288, 291 (Alaska 1985); see also Alaska Stat. § 17.30.110(4) (A)–(B) (placing burden on owner with respect to any conveyance).

Financial incentive: 100% if the property is worth $5,000 or less and something other than money; up to 75% in all other cases.

Alaska Stat. § 17.30.112(c); see also id. § 17.30.122.

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