New York Magazine: Watching Donald Trump Try to Puzzle Out What ‘Asset Forfeiture’ Means Is Deeply Discomfiting by Jesse Singal:
On Tuesday, in an incident picked up by NPR and a bunch of other outlets, Donald Trump joked to a group of sheriffs about ‘destroying the career’ of a Texas state senator one of the sheriffs, Harold Eavenson of Rockwall County, Texas, was unhappy with. Eavenson is a fan of what is known as asset forfeiture, and the state senator had lobbied hard against a certain type of it. What is asset forfeiture? Traditionally, it’s been the practice of taking someone’s stuff after they’ve been convicted of a crime — picture a DEA photo opp in front of a drug lord’s boats and jewelry and cars. But in many parts of the country, the practice has grown extremely loose, and there are numerous signs of widespread abuse. Law-enforcement officers can often take your stuff simply by, in effect, declaring that there’s some connection between you and a hypothetical crime — they don’t need to even arrest or charge you.