Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 1795

Should There be More Restrictions On Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture?

Argument in favor

Civil asset forfeiture violates property rights and due process. In its current form, it is improperly used as a way for police departments and the federal government to take private property to pad their bottom lines. There should be greater protections against this violation of civil rights.

Isaac's Opinion
···
08/08/2018
I can think of no greater incentive for corruption than asset forfeiture. Abuse is rampant. Reform is badly needed
Like (98)
Follow
Share
John's Opinion
···
08/08/2018
What needs to happen is the end of civil forfeiture. It has become the “bake sale” of the militarized police and law enforcement agencies.
Like (72)
Follow
Share
anatidae's Opinion
···
08/08/2018
The government should have no right to take your private property.
Like (59)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Civil asset forfeiture allows local and federal law enforcement to seize assets related to criminal enterprises. This is an important tool for defunding organized crime, taking back profits from criminal enterprises, and preventing new crimes from being committed.

SneakyPete's Opinion
···
08/08/2018
H.R. 1795 - AKA as the DUE PROCESS Act of 2017 I’m OPPOSED to the House bill H.R. 1795 -AKA as the DUE PROCESS Act of 2017 — which would amend the federal criminal code to revise provisions related to federal civil asset forfeiture cases. It’d raise the evidentiary standard in such cases from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence; provide for the appointment of counsel for indigent property owners who can’t hire their own attorney; and provide for the recovery of attorney’s fees in cases where the claimant prevails; while also adding notice requirements. Civil asset forfeiture allows local and federal law enforcement to seize assets related to criminal enterprises. This is an important tool for defunding organized crime, taking back profits from criminal enterprises, and preventing new crimes from being committed. 8*8*18 ..... SneakyPete
Like (3)
Follow
Share
George's Opinion
···
08/08/2018
I say, NAY: Whereas venal greed's existential demiurge is anathema to lawful material retrenchment of its autonomy, retrenchment of Civil Asset Forfeiture provisions would further embolden tyranny of the moneyed-few; laying waste to all hope of 14th Amendment prescriptions of equality thru Rule of Law.
Like (2)
Follow
Share
Edder61's Opinion
···
08/12/2018
If you can't pay the fine then don't do the crime.
Like (2)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 29th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 1795?

This bill — known as the DUE PROCESS Act of 2017 — would amend the federal criminal code to revise provisions related to federal civil asset forfeiture cases. It’d raise the evidentiary standard in such cases from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence; provide for the appointment of counsel for indigent property owners who can’t hire their own attorney; and provide for the recovery of attorney’s fees in cases where the claimant prevails; while also adding notice requirements.

This will would also require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to annually audit federal civil forfeiture cases, and establish a publicly available database tracking such cases.

Finally, the bill would amend the federal judicial code to authorize DOJ to use funds from the DOJ Assets Forfeiture Fund to pay for costs associated with a seized animal, including transportation, shelter, care, veterinary services, and humane euthanasia.

Impact

Property owners in civil forfeiture cases; federal law enforcement; and the Department of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1795

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Introduced this bill to increase transparency in the civil asset forfeiture process, add protections for innocent property owners, and place a higher burden of proof on the government:

“Civil asset forfeiture is a critical component of the overall effort to fix our broken criminal justice system, and the DUE PROCESS Act makes common sense changes to federal forfeiture laws that help innocent Americans. Its reintroduction today brings us one step closer to meaningful reform that will tamper abuse and protect citizens’ Constitutional rights.”

Speaking to the Washington Examiner about his bill, Rep. Sensenbrenner added that currently, too many police departments use the cash they size, along with proceeds from the sales of seized property, as a “slush fund” to bolster their bottom lines. This, he argues, is not appropriate. Civil asset forfeiture is not intended to be a “way to expand the budgets of various law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement officials have historically defended civil forfeiture as a way to limit the resources of drug cartels and organized-crime groups. In a statement announcing the Justice Department’s rollback of a series of Obama-era curbs on civil asset forfeiture in July 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called civil asset forfeiture an important tool in law enforcement’s toolkit. He added that encouraging civil asset forfeiture is appropriate “in order to hit organized crime in the wallet.” In remarks to law enforcement officials, Attorney General Sessions defended civil asset forfeiture by saying:

“As any of [members of law enforcement] will tell you and as President Trump knows well, civil asset forfeiture is a key tool that helps law enforcement defund organized crime, take back ill-gotten gains, and prevent new crimes from being committed, and it weakens the criminals and the cartels. Even more importantly, it helps return property to the victims of crime. Civil asset forfeiture takes the material support of the criminals and instead makes it the material support of law enforcement, funding priorities like new vehicles, bulletproof vests, opioid overdose reversal kits, and better training. In departments across this country, funds that were once used to take lives are now being used to save lives. It also removes the instrumentalities of crimes, such as illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography from criminals—preventing them from being able to use these tools in further criminal acts.”

This legislation has the support of 25 cosponsors of this bill, including 11 Republicans and 14 Democrats. It has the support of the American Bar AssociationInstitute for Justice (IJ), and FreedomWorks -- a conservative and libertarian advocacy organization. The ACLU, which is opposed to civil forfeiture in general, notes that some polls have shown 80% of Americans oppose the practice. ACLU legislative counsel Kanya Bennett, commenting on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rollback of Obama-era civil forfeiture reforms in July 2017, stated that “civil-asset forfeiture is tantamount to policing for profit, generating millions of dollars annually that the agencies get to keep.”

Rep. Sensenbrenner previously introduced this bill in the 114th Congress, where it was approved by the Judiciary Committee before stalling and not reaching the floor before the 114th Congress adjourned in December.


Of Note: This bill builds upon changes made in the 2000 Civil Action Forfeiture Reform Act, which provided a more justice and uniform procedure for Federal civil forfeitures.

In March 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report criticizing the department’s cash seizure and forfeiture activities. The report found that the DOJ could not “effectively assess whether asset forfeiture is being appropriately used,” and that this was especially true for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), where “many of the DEA’s interdiction seizures may not advance or relate to criminal investigations.” The report noted that “for more than half of the interdiction seizures we sampled, which were seized without a warrant, the DEA could not verify whether they had advanced a criminal investigation.” Ultimately, the OIG concluded that “risks to civil liberties are particularly significant when seizures that do not advance or relate to an investigation are conducted without a court-issued seizure warrant, the presence of illicit narcotics, or subsequent judicial involvement prior to administrative forfeiture.”

According to the Institute for Justice, between 1986 and 2014, funds deposited into the DOJ’s Assets Forfeiture Fund have increased 4,667%, from $93.7 million to $4.5 billion.

Civil forfeiture has existed in some form since the colonial era, although most current laws date to the height of the War on Drugs in the 1980s.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / alfexe)

AKA

Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights Of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend title 18, United States Code, to reform certain forfeiture procedures, and for other purposes.

    I can think of no greater incentive for corruption than asset forfeiture. Abuse is rampant. Reform is badly needed
    Like (98)
    Follow
    Share
    What needs to happen is the end of civil forfeiture. It has become the “bake sale” of the militarized police and law enforcement agencies.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    The government should have no right to take your private property.
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    “No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. The Constitution pretty clearly says that civil asset forfeiture isn’t allowed and we need to put it to bed.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. Yes. Yes. No one who has not been found GUILTY should have his or her assets taken by the government. That is criminal on the government’s part.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    Civil asset forfeiture is theft and should be illegal.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    This has been abused by different law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the citizens need protection from abuse of authority!
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    There should really be no forfeiture until there is a conviction. Period.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    There should be INFINITE restrictions on BLATANT THEFT by the government. Eliminate the practice. "You're not guilty but your stuff is, so we're going to take it without trial and you have practically no recourse to ever get it back." What part of that sounds compatible with "land of the free"? End it now.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    They should do away with it completely. I can’t believe this is allowed in our country.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    The current system is rife with abuse. Go ahead and seize the assets of actual criminals, but we *must* make sure that innocent people are not hurt in the process
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Get the abuse out of the system
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    NO shit Sherlock! YES!!!! Police Departments use it as a way to legally steal property and money from people all the time to fund whatever pet projects they have as well as a means to up-scale their Departments militarized footprint. When the cops steal your money and property, even if you’re actually innocent of whatever they accused you of doing, or no charges were filed after all, fucking good luck getting it back at all. Civil Forfeiture is a travesty. I call it downright Unconstitutional, Fascistic,and absolutely truly UnAmerican!
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    It shouldn’t be legal unless someone is convicted of a crime.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    There should not be any asset forfeiture by anyone. This is theft. And when done before a conviction, those responsible should never see the sun again.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    The abuse of this is well documented. More regulation is sorely needed.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes- the fact that government agencies currently steal money and property from innocent Americans before they’re even convicted is astonishing and must be stopped.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    The federal government's overeach into the people's lives is staggering. It must be reigned in, and this is a great place to start.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    And there should be an overhaul of the forfeiture system.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    This Administration is in a hurry to destroy due process for everyone except themselves. They don’t need to be given more authority; they need to start following the rules themselves.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE