March 27, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration or FAIR Act was introduced today in the House. The bill would reform the practice of law enforcement seizing money, homes, and other property they allege is involved in a crime. It would end the sharing of such property or the proceeds from property sales between the federal government and the state. It also redirects any forfeiture profits away from the Justice Department to the Treasury, raises the government’s burden of proof, restores the presumption of innocence of the accused, and provides additional procedural protections to property owners.

Kanya Bennett, ACLU senior legislative counsel, said:

“Our country’s current civil forfeiture system undermines constitutional policing by taking property from people based on mere suspicions, not convictions, and violates due process and property rights. It is tantamount to policing for profit, generating millions of dollars annually that police departments get to keep. The practice is devastating for all Americans, but especially for communities of color and poor people that are victims of unconstitutional and over-policing. We commend Congress for introducing bipartisan comprehensive reforms to this fundamentally unjust practice and call for its swift passage.”
 

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