AG Eric Holder Slashes Civil Asset Forfeiture

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25:  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks  at the 18th Annual HRC National Dinner at The Walter
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the 18th Annual HRC National Dinner at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center on October 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Eric Holder just issued a huge blow to the drug war. This is big.

Today the Justice Department limited the circumstances in which local and state police can use a federal program to seize a person's property without evidence of a crime.

That might sound odd, since you would assume that it was already illegal in America for police to take your property without due process -- but you would be wrong. Originally pushed in the 1980s as a way to combat illegal drugs, civil asset forfeiture has become common throughout the country.

Today people all over America who are simply suspected of drug law violations can have their assets seized without any ability to defend themselves in a court of law. Even if they are never convicted, or even charged with a crime they can have their property, bank accounts, cars, and assets taken from them forever.

Civil asset forfeiture is another ugly aspect of the drug war, and we are making it a top issue in 2015.

Today's actions by Eric Holder are a good first step to ending the unjust enforcement of this program once and for all. But now Congress needs to pass legislation to make this change permanent. #NoMoreDrugWar!

Bill Piper is the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog: http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/holder-slashes-civil-asset-forfeiture