71% of Americans Think Civil Asset Forfeiture Is Wrong


Julian Sanchez draws my attention to a YouGov poll from last month about civil asset forfeiture, the practice of confiscating money that police merely believe to be connected to a crime. What do Americans think of this?

I suppose I should be happy: 71 percent of the respondents think that police should only be able to seize your money if you’ve been convicted of a crime. But what about the other 29 percent? It’s sort of discouraging that nearly a third of the country doesn’t think that conviction is necessary.

Then again, I’ve seen polls showing that a third of Americans don’t really believe in free speech or fair trials or other bedrocks of democracy, so maybe this isn’t bad. Now if we can just mobilize that 71 percent to care enough to make it an issue, maybe this poll will actually mean something.

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