CIVIL LAWSUITS MAY BE FILED BY CITIZENS AGAINST POLICE OFFICERS WHO HAVE VIOLATED THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!
But wait, can Civil and Criminal charges exist from the same case?
Yes, it's possible, but through torts, the area of civil law that deals with compensation for BOTH property damages and physical injuries. A notable example of this happening was in the O.J. Simpson trial, in which he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.
- In this type of case, this allows the government to take private property, regardless of who owns it.
- This law is mostly applied in drug cases.
- This allows law enforcement agencies to sell the seized property, and then use the money for themselves.
- The government MUST show the property that it wishes to seize is truly linked to criminal activity.
- This law is VERY controversial.
- Bennis v. Michigan case: This is one example of a civil forfeiture case. Tina B. Bennis filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, who took her car away, which she shared with her husband, after her husband was caught having sexual relations with a prostitute in the car and arrested. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that she was not able to keep her car, even though she had innocent owner defense. This practice was declared not constitutionally mandated by the due process of law stated in the 14th Amendment.
- In the State of Virginia, the Code 18.2-46.3:2 states their civil forfeiture law. Any property that has a substantial connection with criminal activity is subject to forfeiture from the Commonwealth.