the foundation of our justice system It means that you are innocent until proven guilty. This episode of What’s Ahead shines a spotlight on the obvious and abusive exception. It’s a law enforcement procedure called a civil property confiscation.

With this approach, property such as cash, cars, jewelry, and even real estate can be seized without due process. You don’t have to be convicted or charged with wrongdoing to have your property seized. Officers simply declare that the property in question was used to commit a crime or was suspected of being obtained illegally. Voila! What you had is no longer yours. Since the police agency that recovered the property is both the judge and the jury, it is very difficult and expensive to recover the property. Too many law enforcement agencies have routinely seized civil property to supplement their budgets.

Fortunately, a bipartisan congressional bill, the Fifth Amendment to Restore the Integrity Act (FAIR), has been introduced to curb this unfair and perverse process. The FAIR Act deserves immediate enactment.

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