WASHINGTON (July 5, 2016) – H.R. 5283, also known as the Due Process Act, would implement necessary reforms to federal civil asset-forfeiture procedure, and marks the latest the commendable effort to emerge from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, according to a new policy brief by R Street Policy Analyst Nathan Leamer.

“The Due Process Act offers a balanced approach to revise federal forfeiture practices and procedures, most of which were set down 16 years ago by the Civil Action Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA),” Leamer writes.

Among the bill’s proposed changes to CAFRA are longer filing windows for property owners who wish to challenge asset seizures, a right to counsel in civil asset-forfeiture proceedings, a stricter burden of proof for law enforcement, the ability to challenge a probable cause ruling that leads to asset forfeiture and routine federal audits of assets seized by law enforcement.

Leamer concludes: “The Due Process Act represents a balanced approach to reform federal civil-asset-forfeiture policy. While it does not end the DOJ’s egregious Equitable Sharing Program, the bill enacts a number of much-needed reforms to bring accountability and curb reckless abuse.”

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