Law enforcement officials call it a tool, but critics call it highway robbery.
Its real name is civil asset forfeiture – it’s how a traffic stop could end with someone losing their life’s savings.
Attorney Chris Joseph is on the other side of the issue. He’s working to reform that law.
Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture doesn’t require a conviction, and the state or federal government has to prove there’s about a 50-50 chance the property they’re taking is part of criminal activity.
“It’s not all drug money,” said Joseph. “It just isn’t.”
He believes law enforcement agencies find a reason to search cars, and to take property.
“It’s really up to an officer in the field making a judgment call on a highway about whether or not he believes you,” said Joseph. “If he doesn’t – he’s keeping your money.”
Joseph, and other critics of civil asset forfeiture, have also criticized law enforcement in Kansas for targeting out-of-state plates.