WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures (DUE PROCESS) Act, sponsored by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), passed the House Judiciary Committee and now moves forward to a full House vote. 

The DUE PROCESS Act builds upon changes made in the 2000 Civil Action Forfeiture Reform Act by increasing transparency in the civil asset forfeiture process, adding protections for innocent property owners, and implementing additional protections to ensure property owners have the opportunity to contest seizures. The legislation also improves the notice that the government must give property owners and makes it easier for them to be heard by a judge.

Additionally, the DUE PROCESS Act entitles property owners to an initial hearing, where they can retrieve confiscated property immediately if it was not seized according to the law. It increases the availability of attorney fees for innocent owners, and places a higher burden of proof on the government.

Congressman Sensenbrenner:
 “Civil asset forfeiture is an important piece of the overall effort to reform our criminal justice system, and the DUE PROCESS Act makes common sense changes to federal forfeiture laws that help innocent Americans. Its passage out of the House Judiciary Committee is a significant step forward in the process, and I’m confident that it will soon be passed in a full House vote.”