LATEST SENATOR KING
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) this week joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to write to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies urging the Subcommittee to defund the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) reinstated expansion of civil asset forfeiture practices. In the letter, the Senators submit that expanding equitable sharing and adoptive seizures of property violate due process protections for American citizens outlined in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“Civil asset forfeiture practices defy fundamental principles of due process that are central to our nation,” the Senators wrote. “Under current practices, federal law enforcement can confiscate property from individuals without first providing those affected with a hearing. Once property is confiscated, the federal government is required to show by a preponderance of the evidence—the lowest civil standard—that the property was merely connected to a crime. Property owners who contend that they did not know their property was connected to a crime (for example, a property owner who lends a car to a family member or friend who commits a crime using the car) must prove their lack of knowledge—a remarkable evidentiary burden to impose on someone challenging government action. In all cases, the federal government is not required to charge someone with a crime as a prerequisite to seizing property. We believe these practices are an obvious violation of the due process protections found in the Fifth Amendment.”
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