Through the practice of civil asset forfeiture, the government can seize the property of individuals who are never even charged with a crime, turning the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head. Through both federal and state asset forfeiture practices, the owner of seized property must prove the innocence of their seized property through a long and expensive legal battle to prove in order to recover it. The federal government has seized more than $2.5 billion through 60,000 cash seizures since 2001, and over 80% of those individuals were never charged with a crime.
The Coalition and its partners are working on this issue in order to:
- Protect people from governmental seizures of property and cash.
- Enhance due process, strengthen property rights nationwide, and curb misaligned policy and economic incentives surrounding the use of civil asset forfeiture.
- Limit government seizures of property to cases involving individuals convicted of a crime, or at a minimum connected with illegal conduct using a high burden of proof carried by the government.
- Support legislative reforms that provide procedures for owners to get their property back promptly, have an adequate standard of proof to forfeit property, and require a prompt post-seizure hearing for all property types.