Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture : The New Yorker.
Whether this should be the law—whether, in the absence of a judicial finding of guilt, the state should be able to take possession of your property—has been debated since before American independence.
Officers can take your belongings for any ol’ reason they like, long as it sounds like law. No charges required. No trial. No proof. Texas vs. One Gold Crucifix.