Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) on Thursday introduced a bill to end civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to take property from someone without ever charging them with a crime.
Law enforcement on the local, state, and federal levels can seize assets if they were thought to be used in connection with illegal activity. That’s often based solely on suspicion, though. Many people never receive their items back, even if they were acquitted or never indicted in the first place. Since 2000, state and local governments have robbed people of more than $68 billion.
Police often deposit those sums into slush funds for their departments.
What’s more, the property seized doesn’t necessarily have to have been used by the alleged criminal in question. Such was the case with Kevin McBride, who had his Jeep taken by police in Tucson, Arizona, after his girlfriend allegedly used it to sell $25 worth of weed to an undercover cop.
Amash’s bill would eliminate the practice as we know it nationwide. “Civil asset forfeiture is a due process violation, and it always has been,” said Amash in a statement. “Its history is riddled with injustices not because it’s a valid practice that gets misused, but because its central premise—denying people their procedural rights—is inherently flawed. By ending it, my bill helps fulfill Congress’s obligation to stop rights violations at both the state and federal level, and it ends a practice that contributes to the frayed relationship between law enforcement and the public.” Via – Reason