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Arkansas has awful civil forfeiture laws. Earning a D- grade, Arkansas law only requires the government to show that it is more likely than not that seized property is related to criminal activity—a standard of proof known as preponderance of the evidence. Innocent owners wishing to recover seized property bear the burden of proving their own innocence. Worst of all, Arkansas law enforcement agencies receive 100 percent of the funds generated through civil forfeiture—in most cases, 80 percent of proceeds go to police and prosecutors and 20 percent go to the state Crime Lab Equipment Fund. If a forfeiture exceeds $250,000, any proceeds in excess of that figure are deposited into the Special State Assets Forfeiture Fund.
Forfeiture practice in Arkansas also suffers from a lack of public transparency. The Arkansas Drug Director has a database of all forfeitures—the Asset Seizure Tracking System. However, the only aggregate reports of this information are annual reports from the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, which provide only the value of currency and the number of other assets that were seized; it is impossible to determine from this information the total amount of assets that went on to be forfeited. The data that are available indicate that Arkansas law enforcement seized almost $81 million in currency and more than 9,500 cars between 2000 and 2014.
Arkansas earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:
Low bar to forfeit and no conviction required.
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