Local law enforcement agencies may soon be increasing cash and property seizures from criminal suspects. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to make it easier for these “asset forfeitures” to take place. He plans to announce the shift in policy this week.
Asset forfeiture for drug suspects will be the focus, according to The Denver Post. Sessions is facing criticism for this shift as law enforcement agencies would not need indictments or even evidence that a crime has been committed to seize (steal) property such as money, cars, or homes.
Sessions said, “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures.”
Proceeds from asset forfeitures pay for a portion of local law enforcement agencies’ expenses, such as egregious salary bonuses and military-grade weaponry.
If the change takes place, it signifies another reversal of a relaxed Obama-era Justice Department policy. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tightened control of the asset forfeiture process to prevent asset seizures without indictments, judicial oversight or evidence of being charged with a crime.
Holder’s move was praised heavily as a step toward reform. Meanwhile, Sessions says that adoptive forfeiture is “appropriate…”