previously discussed the fact that the government (local and federal) routinely seizes and
confiscates money taken from individuals by law enforcement officers.
The process of fighting the government's forfeiture action is complicated
and very time-sensitive and most laws currently on the books (including
California's) allow the government to take and keep seized money without
much proof that the money was connected to criminal activity.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has just introduced
a bill called the FAIR Act that aims to change the federal forfeiture system
by forcing the government to prove by "clear and convincing evidence"
that the money the government wants to seize is actually connected to
criminal activity. While "clear and convincing evidence" is
not the highest burden of proof - "
beyond a reasonable doubt" - it is still a more substantial evidentiary hurdle than what the
federal government is currently bound by and will help to protect the
vital property rights of our citizens.
Introducing a bill is a far cry from a bill becoming
law, but it is a step in the right direction and one that will hopefully cause
state law makers to re-consider the burden of proof applied in
local forfeiture actions.
If you are needing assistance in fighting a law enforcement forfeiture
action right now, please feel free to call us at 661-334-3000.