WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives approved important criminal justice reform amendments to 2018 spending legislation. These amendments would prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) from implementing recent policy changes that would make it easier for state law enforcement to transfer seized property to the DOJ, potentially circumventing state laws governing civil asset forfeiture, and compel the DOJ to address the backlog of petitions related to certain federal civil forfeiture cases. Prior to the votes, the Justice Action Network joined a letter urging the House to take action in response to this policy change.
Holly Harris, Executive Director, Justice Action Network: “In a rebuke to the Justice Department, the House voted today to stand for civil liberties, and curb the federal government’s ability to take a person’s property without due process of law. It’s astonishing that, here in America, someone’s property can be forfeited even when that person has never been charged with a crime. Today’s action is a strong statement of support from Republicans and Democrats, proving that these reforms know no political boundaries. The Justice Action Network applauds the bipartisan group of members, including Reps. Amash, Roskam, Walberg, and Raskin, who led this effort, and we urge Congress to continue working in a bipartisan manner to reform abusive federal forfeiture policies.”