Civil Asset Forfeiture is an egregious violation of our property rights as protected by the 5th Amendment. The government is not supposed to seize property without due process of law, and yet it is common practice in every state for governments – state and local – to do just that. Some states have enacted reforms to cut back on the practice, but unless there is an outright ban on asset forfeiture without due process, no reform is even close to sufficient.
Texas, even after having enacted some reforms, is still notoriously bad on the issue. Some local governments in Texas run what can only be described as highway piracy programs in order to seize property which they can then use to fund their city budgets.
That’s why we are pleased to hear, via The Corner at National Review Online, that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, has introduced S. 2644 The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act. According to Sen. Paul, the legislation “would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.”
Outside of a law enforcement and a cadre of mostly conservative and libertarian political nerds, not many people even know what civil asset forfeiture is or just how rampant a problem is. We are thrilled to see Sen. Paul introduce legislation to expose and rescind this awful and unconstitutional practice.
To read more about civil asset forfeiture, check out the informative and jaw-dropping Policing For Profit video courtesy of the Institute for Justice.