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Civil Forfeiture Reform in the 116th Congress:

  • 2045 Rayburn House Office Building (map)

Civil Forfeiture Reform in the 116th Congress

The Honorable Tim Walberg (R-MI)
United State House of Representatives

The Honorable Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
United States House of Representatives

 DATE: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
TIME: 12-2pm
WHERE:  2045, Rayburn House Office Building


The new year will see a new Congress, a new attorney general, and a new chance to rein in civil forfeiture, one of the biggest threats to Americans’ property rights today. Civil forfeiture is the power of law enforcement to confiscate property involved in a crime. In contrast to criminal forfeiture, there is no requirement that the property owner be charged, much less convicted, of a crime. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have used civil forfeiture to seize billions of dollars in cash, cars, and even homes.

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) will offer opening remarks on the urgent need for civil forfeiture reform in the 116th Congress, and why Republicans and Democrats alike should support efforts to limit this abusive practice. Rep. Walberg is the three-time sponsor of the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, the most sweeping civil forfeiture reform introduced in Congress. Rep. Raskin co-sponsored amendments that would have blocked “adoptive” forfeitures, a notorious federal program that was revived by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Hosted by the Institute for Justice, the panel discussion will offer an overview of the federal government’s civil forfeiture programs, provide insight into how Congress can protect innocent owners, and present new research that uses the Justice Department’s own data to explain how the recent revival of adoptive forfeitures puts innocent property owners at risk. IJ plaintiff Gerardo Serrano, who had his truck unjustly seized and held for more than two years by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for civil forfeiture, will also speak at the event.


Additional Speakers:

  • Gerardo Serrano, plaintiff in Serrano v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

  • Darpana Sheth, Senior Attorney and Director of National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse, Institute for Justice

  • Dan Alban, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

  • Jennifer McDonald, Senior Research Analyst, Institute for Justice