102 Iowa L. Rev. 289 (2016)
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Numerous federal statutes authorize the government to seek forfeiture of a criminal defendant’s property after conviction. Under each of those statutes, the government must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is a factual nexus between the defendant’s criminal conduct and the property to be forfeited. Courts have struggled to articulate a standard for judging whether the government has established a factual nexus sufficient to warrant forfeiture. As a result, the existing criminal forfeiture jurisprudence is idiosyncratic and chaotic, and invites suspicion that the forfeiture statutes may be unconstitutionally vague. This Note traces the development of asset forfeiture law in the United States and outlines the current, inconsistent application of the forfeiture statutes. It then argues that courts should: (1) read the statutory language authorizing forfeiture to determine the types of property that may be forfeited; and (2) grant forfeiture if the government establishes that the contact between the property at issue and the criminal conduct is more than merely incidental or fortuitous. Such a standard will comport with the purpose of the forfeiture statutes and allow courts to meaningfully distinguish between property that is sufficiently connected with crime to permit forfeiture and property that is not.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016