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Although forfeiture is an ancient practice, its constitutional validity has only recently been seriously questioned. Historically, the Supreme Court has relied on a legal fiction-that the property itself is guilty-to confiscate property without regard to the Constitution. Cloaking itself in the "guilty property fiction," the Court has virtually ignored the property owner's culpability. In Bennis, the Court decided whether an owner's interest in property is subject to forfeiture when the owner entrusts the property to a party who uses it to commit a crime, even if the owner has no knowledge of the illegal use.


This article was published originally at 64 Tenn. L. Rev. 195 (1996) and appears here by permission of the Tennessee Law Review Association, Inc.