Proposing a Transactional Approach to Civil Forfeiture Reform

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Civil forfeiture is a truly extraordinary legal doctrine—so much so that those who find themselves subject to a forfeiture proceeding frequently express disbelief that such an action could exist in the United States. The Kafkaesque civil forfeiture system is ancient, labyrinthine, and impermeable to the uninitiated. Despite its esoteric nature, federal, state, and local authorities commonly utilize this legal doctrine. While the practice once had reputable roots, it has become a tool with enormous potential for abuse. This Comment explores the doctrine of civil forfeiture at a macro level before suggesting some specific recommendations for reform.

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