In Louisiana, protection against wrongful forfeiture of assets by police is inadequate. The state may forfeit your property by showing by a preponderance of evidence that the property is related to a crime and thus forfeitable. A property owner must then show that he is innocent—that he did not know and could not have reasonably known of the conduct or that he acted reasonably to prevent the conduct giving rise to the forfeiture.Law enforcement is entitled to 80 percent of the value of property they seize in civil forfeiture actions. Incredibly, the remaining 20 percent flows to the criminal court fund. This would seem to blatantly violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. In Tumey v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a statutory scheme where a mayor, also sitting as a judge, received a share of the proceeds collected in court. Moreover, Louisiana officials are required to collect data on the use of forfeiture but did not respond to a request for that information.
1 Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U.S. 510 (1927).
Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)
Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency
Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)
Proceeds Returned to State
Average per Year
Freedom of Information Data
No Data Available; Required to Collect, But Did Not Respond to Request