Senators Backing Bill to Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
A bipartisan group of Senators led by Rand Paul (R-KY) is bringing back a piece of legislation aimed at reforming civil asset forfeiture laws.
Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement organizations to seize – and often keep – property they claim is connected to criminal activity.
The practice has resulted in numerous allegations of abuse:
[Civil asset forfeiture] was sold as a way to fight drug cartels, but over the past several decades it has become clear that cops are abusing the process to pad their budgets and payrolls. Instead of drug kingpins, the targets are frequently poorer people, often minorities or immigrants, who lacked the financial resources to fight back when police took their property. Law enforcement agencies have raked in more than $35 billion in this way over the last two decades.
The Paul bill – called the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act – would make changes to existing federal law government asset forfeiture, making it harder for government to arbitrarily seize property.
In a statement regarding the bill Paul said:
“The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime.”
Image Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Rand Paul) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons