Rep. Darrell Issa on Tuesday sharply criticized a plan by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to increase police seizures of cash and property from suspects under civil forfeiture rules.
“This is a troubling decision for the due process protections afforded to us under the Fourth Amendment as well as the growing consensus we’ve seen nationwide on this issue,” said Issa. “Criminals shouldn’t be able to keep the proceeds of their crime, but innocent Americans shouldn’t lose their right to due process, or their private property rights, in order to make that happen.”
Civil forfeiture rules allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. Critics of the procedure say this creates a “profit motive” that encourages seizures.
Sessions said the Justice Department will issue new rules this week to increase forfeitures, especially from drug traffickers, but promised “care and professionalism.”
Many states have tightened civil forfeiture rules, and Issa is an original sponsor of the Due Process Act, which he and his colleagues introduced in the House of Representatives to curb civil forfeiture abuse at the federal level.
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