South Dakota does little to protect its citizens from civil forfeiture abuse, as its poor law grade of D- shows. The state’s final grade of C reflects limited use of equitable sharing to date. To forfeit real property, the government must prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence, but for all other property, the government only needs to show probable cause. These are low standards, far below what is needed to establish criminal guilt. For an innocent owner claim, the property owner is forced to bear the burden of proof, effectively presuming owners are guilty. And law enforcement has access to 100 percent of the money it brings in from civil forfeiture. Initially, the assets are distributed to a “drug control fund” managed by the Attorney General, but law enforcement can then request that money for its own use. There is no requirement that law enforcement collect or report information on the use of forfeiture or its proceeds.
Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)
Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency
Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)