Nebraska has a very high standard—beyond a reasonable doubt—to forfeit property. However, once the state establishes that the property is subject to forfeiture, the burden shifts to the property owner to establish that he is an innocent owner. In Nebraska, law enforcement receives 75 percent of forfeiture proceeds.Given these limitations, Nebraska law enforcement only took in about $600,000 in total forfeitures from 2001 to 2002. But Nebraska agencies take advantage of equitable sharing arrangements. For example, an out-of-state driver crossing Nebraska was stopped by law enforcement, and police found a small amount of marijuana but later dropped the drug charges. The police took a suitcase with more than $40,000 in it and turned it over to a federal agent. The Nebraska Supreme Court found the state courts had no jurisdiction over the money after the federal agents took possession, even though the initial seizure was conducted by state agents and any eventual receipts would be equitably shared with local law enforcement.
1 Obad v. State, 766 N.W.2d 89 (Neb. 2009).
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
Reports of forfeitures by counties; type and number of law enforcement agencies unclearTotal amount of assets, 2001-2002: $604,722