Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Margaret McCoey


Civil Asset Forfeiture (CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE) is a disputable law enforcement asset utilized to combat the war on drugs and criticized as an abusive practice. Are law enforcement agencies really combatting the war on drugs using civil asset forfeiture law or just using the law for their own self interests? Civil Asset Forfeiture abuse relates to perverse incentives which are further aided by the federal equitable sharing program (ESP). Civil asset forfeiture law allows owners’ assets to be seized and forfeited, by law enforcement agencies without a warrant and/or a criminal conviction. When federal agencies adopt and prosecute, state and local law enforcement agencies civil asset forfeiture cases, the process has been viewed as incomplete, and circumvents state law for financial gain. This thesis will examine how state civil asset forfeiture and the federal equitable sharing program impede law enforcement responsibility and evade state civil asset forfeiture laws. A gap in the literature exists in support or against the federal equitable sharing program. A review of the literature indicates much needed reform on state civil asset forfeiture, suggesting the elimination or the closure of the federal equitable sharing program ambiguity.