Emerging Projects

Texas Appleseed continues to look at how we can help achieve justice for underserved populations in Texas. Here, we introduce projects that we are beginning to tackle, with background information and how you can get involved.

ASSET FORFEITURE

  • Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement to seize property that it asserts has been involved in certain criminal activity. While advocates of the practice assert that it is an important tool for fighting crime, by reducing the profitability of and removing assets required for certain criminal activity, there is evidence that the practice has and continues to be routinely abused. These abuses occur, at least in part, due to the fact that law enforcement can retain up to 90 percent of forfeited funds and because oversight is minimal. During the 84th Legislative Session, Texas Appleseed supported the efforts of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to limit the abuses that asset forfeiture allows. Some of the sensible solutions that we asked legislators to consider included: better reporting, stronger protections for people whose assets have been seized, and putting the funds in a common statewide pool so that there are fewer incentives for abuse. To find out more, download this fact sheet and infographic. To join pro bono attorneys from Alston & Bird LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, and Hunton & Williams LLP in researching and supporting work on this project, please contact Gabriella McDonald at gmcdonald@texasappleseed.net.