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COLLINS FIGHTS TO PROTECT DUE PROCESS IN CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE CASES

Mar 30, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced to increase the accountability and oversight of federal civil asset seizure and forfeiture cases. The Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures Act of 2017 (DUE PROCESS Act) includes a variety of reforms to the status quo that would better protect citizens from undue government seizure.

“Our citizens and my neighbors deserve robust protections surrounding their property and due process rights. Government bureaucrats should not be allowed to seize privately held assets without meeting a higher burden of proof than the ‘preponderance of evidence’ statute currently in effect,” says Collins.

“Americans also deserve access to counsel in these cases, which can become difficult because civil asset forfeiture procedures inherently throw victims into a Catch-22 situation: Property owners need attorneys to recover their assets, but they are often unable to hire counsel because their assets have been frozen at the discretion of the Internal Revenue Service. The DUE PROCESS Act strengthens these and other legal protections that are necessary to guard innocent Americans from cases of destructive government overreach.”

In addition, the bill would allow individuals to recover attorney fees in cases in which the court finds in the victim's favor and would require the government to notify individuals within 30 days of seizing their property. Currently, the government has 60 days to inform property owners of civil asset forfeitures.