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Asset Forfeiture

A Guide to Finding Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • asset forfeiture
  • forfeiture
  • criminal asset forfeiture
  • civil asset forfeiture
  • federal
  • state
  • policing
  • law enforcement
  • justice
  • government policy
  • search and seizure
  • fines
  • penalties
  • punishments
  • drug control
  • equitable sharing

Related Topics:
  • police misconduct
  • money laundering
  • search and seizure

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

Search Engines

Google and StartPage
Use these search engines to search for government information by typing "site:gov" in the search box preceding your search terms:

  • site:gov "asset forfeiture"
  • site:mil asset forfeiture
Law Review Articles

Law reviews are an important resource for legal topics like this one. They can lead you to laws and cases as well as discuss legal theory. A few law journals are indexed in multidisciplinary databases, but the best bang for your buck will be to search Nexis Uni for full-text access to many hundreds of law reviews.

Federal Government Information
Timbs v. Indiana

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the majority opinion of this unanimous landmark Supreme Court decision (decided 2/20/2020) that includes reference even to the Magna Carta (1215 A.D.), and that once and for all settles the argument as whether the 14th Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states (it does, so sayeth the Court), making excessive fines, property seizures, and civil asset forfeiture a violation of constitutionally protected rights.

Guide to Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies

This guidebook covers everything about the Equitable Sharing Program; what can be seized, who does the seizing, how it gets 'shared,' proper accounting procedures, and the forms you need to fill out. 2018

Selected Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes: Including Statutes Amended by the Criminal Law Technical Amendments Act of 2002, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the USA Patriot Act of 2001, and CAFRA

The text of all the laws that govern the Federal Asset Forfeiture Program. 2004
J 1.2:AS 7/2/2004

Asset Forfeiture Program

The Asset Forfeiture Program is managed by the U.S. Marshals Service, including the Equitable Sharing Program, which allows state and local law enforcement agencies to seize your property without even charging you with a crime.

21 USC § 881

This section of the U.S. Code on forfeitures gives the federal government the power to take assets under circumstances described by the law.

Oversight of Federal Asset Forfeiture: Its Role in Fighting Crime

This hearing discusses problems with the Civil Asset Forfeiture Program, the need for the program, and possible solutions. 2000
Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.106-673

Illinois Government Information
Seizure And Forfeiture Of Vessels, Vehicles And Aircraft

Illinois' asset forfeiture law for transportation vehicles.
720 ILCS 5/36-1, et seq.

Property Forfeiture

This law describes real estate forfeiture regarding nuisance properties, where illegal drugs are manufactured or sold.
720 ILCS 5/37-1, et seq.

Legal Information
Reverse Robin Hood: The Tale Of How Texas Law Enforcement Has Used Civil Asset Forfeiture To Take From Property Owners And Pad The Pockets Of Local Government - The Righteous Hunt For Reform Is On

Although some states have set boundaries on asset forfeiture, government officials in Texas have free rein to steal anything from anyone. 2014
Texas Tech Law Review v.46, p.1169 et seq., via Nexis Uni

Civil Forfeiture: A Fiction That Offends Due Process

A good section on the history of guilty property starts off an informative article that includes tales of paid informants, government hubris, and evasions of constitutional property protections. 2000
Regent University Law Review v.13, p.259 et seq., via Nexis Uni

Ensuring Eighth Amendment Protection From Excessive Fines In Civil Asset Forfeiture Cases

This article discusses various legal tests, their legal basis and effects, used by courts in determining whether a property can be seized. 2012
George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p427-458. 32p, via Academic Search Complete

Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment

This go-to multivolume treatise includes information on asset forfeiture.
LEGLREF. KF 9630 .L26 2012

United States v. Bajakajian

This case concerns the seizing of over $350,000 in cash by customs officials simply because it wasn't reported, as required by law. 1998
524 U.S. 321, via Nexis Uni

Subject Guides