Holley is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Political Science.
The practice of civil forfeiture practice has sparked controversy nationwide due to a series of documented abuses, and such policies have led to important legal battles and legislative changes here in Pennsylvania. This past summer, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for a reinstatement of an old civil asset forfeiture policy. Under the DOJ’s new agenda, the future of local civil forfeiture is anything but certain.
To thoroughly consider the local implications of such policy change, it is important to first examine the state of civil forfeiture rules today. Civil forfeiture is the practice of governments seizing the property and assets of individuals suspected of or associated with criminal activity. In such proceedings, the property is actually what is charged.  Theoretically, the concept of taking the spoils of illegal activity to inhibit lawbreakers from further operation makes perfect sense. Another rationale for civil forfeiture was the idea that the confiscated goods could then be used to obstruct other criminal enterprises.