Darrell Issa | Serving California's 49th District
Press Releases
May 25, 2016
Issa Sponsored Civil Forfeiture Bill Passes Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced with his colleagues last week to rein in civil asset forfeiture abuse. The DUE PROCESS Act of 2016 (H.R. 5283) will strengthen American protections for property rights and due process by preventing the police from unjustly taking citizens’ property.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released the following statement:

“Our criminal justice system is failing Americans and is in desperate need of reform. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our broken civil forfeiture laws which have allowed law enforcement to make a habit of seizing property from innocent Americans without sufficient proof of wrongdoing. I’m pleased the House Judiciary Committee was able to move swiftly on this bill, which I introduced with my colleagues last week. The bill will strengthen due process, increase transparency and accountability of law enforcement, and help curb abuse of this tool. I look forward to continuing to work on civil justice reform and am hopeful to see the bill pass the full House in short order.”

Key provisions of the DUE PROCESS Act include:

Reforming federal civil asset forfeiture programs

-Enhances procedural protections of forfeiture proceedings in both civil and administrative settings and prevents government overreach
-Increases the government’s burden of proof in civil asset forfeiture cases to help protect innocent victims

Strengthening protections for those with taken property

-Creates a right to counsel for Americans in all civil asset forfeiture proceedings
-Provides that a claimant may recover attorney’s fees in victorious cases against a government forfeiture
-Speeds up the process for the government to notify the property owner of a seizure
-Expands protections to innocent owners by requiring the government to prove the connection between the property and the offense and that the property was used intentionally in order to seize it

Increasing accountability and oversight of seizures and forfeitures

-Requires the Inspector General to conduct a yearly audit on a representative sample of federal civil forfeitures to ensure they are being conducted within the letter and spirit of the law
-Requires the creation of two federal databases on forfeitures in order to make information more readily available to the public, including a catalog of federal forfeitures to assist those whose property has been seized and to provide broad details on the types of forfeiture, agencies involved, and the conduct that lead to forfeited property

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