Date of Award

Winter 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Alynna Lyon


Civil asset forfeiture is criticized for its lack of procedural protections for property owners and for skewing the priorities of law enforcement. Federal civil forfeiture law allows federal agencies to prosecute civil forfeiture cases for state and local law enforcement agencies, a practice that is criticized for allowing the circumvention of state laws. This thesis looks at three factors governing forfeiture at the state level (standard of proof, conviction requirement and financial incentive) and examines their effect on federal equitable sharing payments. The results indicate that both conviction requirement and standard of proof affect equitable sharing payments and suggests that state procedural protections are being circumvented through the use of federal courts. Federal law can be changed to discourage this by requiring convictions in state court and limiting adoptions to cases where the adopting agency is an active participant.