Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the U.S. Justice Department will strictly limit local and state law enforcement agencies' use of so-called federal "adoptions" for civil asset forfeitures.
The federal asset forfeiture program originally began in the 1980s as part of the war on drugs, reports The Washington Post. At that time, few states had similar forfeiture laws; however, federal adoption of seized property allowed local and state law enforcement agencies to prevent seized property from being returned to criminals. But federal adoptions have continued to be used even as states passed their own forfeiture laws. According to the Post, since 2008 local and state police agencies have used a federal civil asset forfeiture program called Equitable Sharing to seize $3 billion worth of cash and property.
What do you need to know about Attorney General Holder's announcement? Here are five facts: