Incentive for Extortion

Attorney General Sessions wants a return to the federal asset seizure standards that encouraged local law enforcement agencies to summarily seize property from individuals, often simply on the suspicion that the property had been associated with a federal crime.  The perverse incentive? Budget-starved local agencies got to keep most of what they seized, often regardless of whether a federal prosecution ensued, or succeeded.  So agency enforcement decisions in a number of jurisdictions started prioritizing the value of assets in play over the severity of the alleged underlying crime, seizing, for instance, the homes of parents of teenage sons arrested for selling small amounts of marijuana.  Back to the future, says Sessions.