So what ya'll are really saying is, not that due process must be followed (because it actually is...nobody's driving off with someone's SUV and automatically confiscating it), but that you believe "due process" should have to include a criminal conviction.There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Almost all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a "preponderance of the evidence" that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime.
If you'll notice in the quotation above, the due process that is followed lets the government state its case for confiscation and then gives the owner of the property an opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence that it should not be seized because it wasn't used in nor acquired through illegal means. "Preponderance of the evidence" is a much lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
After reading everyone's comments, I was just about to say I'd changed my mind. After researching the actual due process involved in confiscating assets, I stand by my original opinion.The standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true. Effectively, the standard is satisfied if there is greater than 50 percent chance that the proposition is true.
Change the law, then.