Calling onto question the use of law enforcement time and resources, a recent study found a negative correlation between the collection of police revenue (e.g. fines, fees, and asset forfeitures) by law enforcement and its ability of solving crime. Additionally, a 2015 study by the Department of Justice found that the Ferguson Police Department prioritized maximizing revenue at the cost of making policing less effective and more difficult. In addition to federal grants, the increase in revenue collection by law enforcement allows for a more militarized police force through the regular and increased frequency of the purchase of military equipment.
The consistent findings among the studies show that law enforcement agencies are being used to generate revenue. The revenue The problem identified by the studies show the focus on revenue impacts public safety by taking away law enforcement’s ability to effectively investigate and solve violent crimes.
Fortunately, forfeitures in Minnesota State courts has been curtailed to a certain extent as Minnesota law requires a conviction for the government to succeed in a challenged asset forfeiture civil action. However, the conviction requirement in Minnesota is only triggered if you file a civil case challenging forfeiture within 60 days.
Federal law, and the law of many other states, do not require a conviction or even a criminal charge to seize assets. Typically, in those jurisdictions, the owner of the seized property has the burden of proving the seized property is derived from a lawful source.