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Exploratory Analysis of Federal Litigation in the United States Challenging Asset Forfeiture

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 22 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2011 Pages: 50-64
Shaun L. Gabbidon, Ph.D.; George E. Higgins, Ph.D.; Favian Martin; Matthew Nelson; Jimmy Brown
Date Published
March 2011
15 pages
This article examines the results of research that analyzed asset forfeiture litigation from the U.S. Court of Appeals.
More specifically, the research focused on the characteristics and outcomes of 193 cases in which plaintiffs were seeking the return of assets. The research also examined the predictors of success for plaintiffs in these cases. Among the findings, the authors found that most assets were seized through criminal proceedings and involved cash forfeitures. When forfeiture proceedings began, however, 94 percent were carried out using the civil process. Plaintiffs lost most of the cases, but several variables significantly increased or decreased the likelihood of winning. When the plaintiff was a corporation, and when the case originated through the criminal asset forfeiture proceeding, the likelihood of the plaintiff prevailing increased. However, gender (specifically, being male), third-party involvement, and cash forfeitures reduced the likelihood of the plaintiff's winning. This article discusses the implications of these findings and suggests future directions for asset forfeiture research. (Published Abstract)