Civil forfeiture is alive and well in West Virginia, and across the country. Forfeiture laws allows officers to seize property (including cash) without making an arrest, and many times without judicial oversight. As long as an officer believes that the property is related to illegal activity, a seizure can occur. Such seizures often happen during traffic stops, and can even take place in a person’s home. Once a person’s property is taken, their only option is to quickly challenge the government’s actions in court, which can be expensive, time consuming and uncertain.
I believe it is time for stronger due process protections to be enacted to protect against civil forfeiture abuse, and Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court seems to agree. The article below is worth a read.