skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 203405 Find in a Library
Title: Assets Forfeiture: A Study of Policy and Its Practice
Author(s): Gregory M. Vecchi; Robert T. Sigler
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 183
Sponsoring Agency: Carolina Academic Press
Durham, NC 27701
Publication Number: ISBN 0-89089-947-9
Sale Source: Carolina Academic Press
700 Kent Street
Durham, NC 27701
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A historical review of the theory and application of assets forfeiture in law enforcement is followed by an overview of the technical nature of forfeiture statutes in current use; the authors' own research on how assets forfeiture is viewed and practiced by local and Federal drug enforcement agents is then discussed, with recommendations offered for the effective and efficient use of forfeiture in the future.
Abstract: A historical review of the development of assets forfeiture theory and law begins by tracing the development of drug-control policy in the United States. It notes that over time, a substantial and complex drug-fighting bureaucracy became an established and dominant component of the Federal justice system. The history of forfeiture itself is noted to have emerged early in European history, but it evolved into a process considerably different from its original form. Currently, it is a complex process with both civil and criminal dimensions. Each of these dimensions is discussed. Components of the discussion include attention to modern assets forfeiture in the United States and features of major legislation that has affected modern drug assets forfeiture. The authors advise that although the rationale for assets forfeiture was originally to inflict punishment and provide a deterrent for drug trafficking by depriving traffickers of the financial incentive for engaging in the manufacture and sale of illegal drugs, over the years many law enforcement agencies have become dependent on the lucrative revenues of assets forfeiture in order to fund their operations. The research conducted by the authors found that the primary objectives of assets forfeiture within the upper echelons of Federal, State, and local government continue to be punishment and deterrence; however, the front-line agents view assets forfeiture as an important source of revenue for their agencies. The latter motivation creates the potential for abuse, including the tendency to target illicit drug enterprises that offer the most lucrative potential for forfeiture rather than those that pose the greatest threat to society. This book recommends a forfeiture policy that emphasizes penalty attributes rather than deterrence; the discouragement of the use of civil judicial forfeitures; the removal of the control of forfeiture proceeds from direct control by the heads of local agencies; and restricting Federal adoptive forfeiture in cases in which the Federal agencies did not have a significant role in the investigation. Suggestions are offered for future research. Chapter references and appended partial listing of drug and money laundering-related statutes that contain forfeiture provisions, a partial listing of non drug-related statutes that contain forfeiture provisions, and the assets forfeiture survey questionnaire used in the research
Main Term(s): Drug law enforcement
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Drug forfeiture; Drug Policy; Forfeiture; Forfeiture law; Punishment
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.