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New York Times Lauds High Court Ruling Slowing Property Seizures


March 1993

In a ringing endorsement of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting the right to offer an innocent owner defense against government efforts to seizure house, the New York Times called for Congress to take a hard look at forfeiture laws, and suggested that forfeiture proceeds be directed to the general treasury, rather than law enforcement (Editorial, "The Court Slows Property Seizures," New York Times, 2/27/93, p. 18).

Permitting police to keep forfeiture proceeds skews law enforcement priorities, leading to an inappropriate focus on crimes with high potential property yield. Worse, the law has been applied so broadly that innocent property owners have been afflicted, with the only recourse being costly and time consuming litigation against the government.