Georgia Civil Forfeiture

Georgia Legislators Must Reform the State’s Civil Forfeiture Laws

Video: Ending Forfeiture Abuse: How States Can Be Tough on Crime and Respect Property Rights 

Civil forfeiture allows the police to seize your home, car, cash or other property upon the mere suspicion that it has been used or involved in criminal activity.  Even worse, up to 100 percent of forfeited property goes to police and prosecutors’ budgets, creating perverse incentives for otherwise honorable police officers to seize cars, cash and property.

Innocent property owners like Paula Peterson have experienced firsthand the abuse that comes from the state’s forfeiture laws.  Paula’s daughter drove her late father’s SUV to and from work from her home in Alma.  The police later accused the daughter and her roommate of possessing drugs.  Within hours of the arrest, the roommate admitted she was solely responsible for the drugs.  But police still seized Paula and her husband’s SUV simply because it was parked outside of their daughter’s home and did not return it to Paula for almost five months, even though drugs were never found in the SUV.  

Lawmakers are being urged to follow three principles to ensure that police pursue the neutral administration of justice rather than profit.  First, a conviction should be required before final title to property is transferred to the state.  Second, an innocent owner who is not suspected of any wrongdoing should quickly get back seized property.  Finally, police and prosecutors’ offices should not profit from enforcing forfeiture laws.


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Georgia Legislators Must Reform the State’s Civil Forfeiture Laws To Protect Private Property Rights

Related Video: Policing for Profit

Launch Release: Georgia Legislators Must Reform the State’s Civil Forfeiture Laws (January 5, 2012)

Model Forfeiture Law

Asset Forfeiture: IJ Model State Law

Release: Civil Forfeiture Reporting Rotten in the Peach State (January 29, 2013) 

Asset Forfeiture: IJ Model State Law (Word DOC)

Victory: Reporting legislation HB233 enacted into law on May 6, 2015

Additional Releases

Reports, Maps, Charts and Facts

none available

Report: Rotten Reporting in the Peach State: Civil Forfeiture in Georgia Leaves the Public in the Dark

Download Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Detail: State Forfeiture Grades and Map

Download Inequitable Justice: How Federal "Equitable Sharing" Encourages Local Police and Prosecutors to Evade State Civil Forfeiture Law for Financial Gain

Download Forfeiting Accountability: Georgia's Law Enforcement's Hidden Civil Forfeiture Funds
Download Forfeiting Justice: How Texas Police and Prosecutors Cash In On Seized Property
Report: A Stacked Deck: How Minnesota's Civil Forfeiture Laws Put Citizens' Property at Risk 
Report: Arizona's Profit Incentive in Civil Forfeiture: Dangerous for law enforcement; Dangerous for Arizonans

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Video: Ending Forfeiture Abuse: How States Can Be Tough on Crime and Respecting Property Rights; (January 29, 2013)

Video: Forfeiture Abuse: Even Your Drums Aren't Safe From the Police; (February 28, 2011)

Video: IJ's Scott Bullock discusses the Forfeiting Justice report; (November 18, 2010)

 Video: Fox Business: IJ's Scott Bullock discusses "policing for profit" with David Asman; (August 10, 2010)

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