Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner Introduces Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Legislation
It increases the availability of attorney fees for innocent owners, and places a higher burden of proof on the government.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures (DUE PROCESS) Act, which would enact meaningful reforms to the federal civil asset forfeiture process.
The DUE PROCESS Act builds upon changes made in the 2000 Civil Action Forfeiture Reform Act by increasing transparency in the civil asset forfeiture process, adding protections for innocent property owners, and implementing additional protections to ensure property owners have the opportunity to contest seizures. The legislation also improves the notice that the government must give property owners and makes it easier for owners to be heard by a judge.
Additionally, the DUE PROCESS Act entitles property owners to an initial hearing, where they can retrieve confiscated property immediately if it was not seized according to the law. It increases the availability of attorney fees for innocent owners, and places a higher burden of proof on the government.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Forfeiture is a critical tool in the fight against crime, but it is also vulnerable to abuse. The DUE PROCESS Act, among other things, will increase transparency and add protections for innocent property owners, including the opportunity to contest seizures and regain illegally seized property immediately. Reform to the current federal forfeiture laws is necessary to curb abuse, restore confidence in law enforcement, and help citizens protect their property rights.”