In this letter, the ACLU reaffirmed its support for the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act (S. 642/H.R. 1555), comprehensive civil forfeiture reform legislation. The bipartisan bill was re-introduced by Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Tim Walberg, who were sponsors of the FAIR Act in the 114th Congress. The legislation would address the problems of civil forfeiture by addressing three aspects of current federal laws – eliminating profit incentives by ending federal and state/local partnerships known as “equitable sharing”, and directing forfeiture proceeds to the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund rather than to the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund; increasing the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence” before the government can take someone’s property believed to be connected to a crime; and providing property owners with the right to counsel in all civil forfeiture proceedings.
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