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Question #89136 posted on 04/20/2017 11:57 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board non-lawyer lawyers,

How does civil asset forfeiture not qualify as a taking under the 5th Amendment? Bonus points if you can point me to a specific court case.


-non-lawyer lawyer


Dear NLL,

For the benefit of our readers, the language in the Fifth Amendment being referenced here is:

"...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The short answer to your question is that Civil Asset Forfeiture is upheld by courts when it can be demonstrated that Due Process was given. At least, that's what my non-lawyer Google research shows. The earliest case I can find on this is Bennis v. Michigan (94-8729), 517 U.S. 1163 (1996) in which the Supreme Court of Michigan shows that the asset forfeiture did not violate the Constitution because due process was issued.