| Home > 106th Congressional Public Laws > Pub.L. 106-186 Expressing <> the sense of Congress that the President of the United States should encourage free and fair elections and respect for democracy in Peru. ...
Pub.L. 106-186 Expressing <> the sense of Congress that the President of the United States should encourage free and fair elections and respect for democracy in Peru. ...
CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM
ACT OF 2000
[[Page 114 STAT. 202]]
Public Law 106-185
To provide <<NOTE: Apr. 25, 2000 - [H.R. 1658]>> a more just and
uniform procedure for Federal civil forfeitures, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Civil Asset Forfeiture
Reform Act of 2000.>> assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) <<NOTE: 18 USC 981 note.>> Short Title.--This Act may be cited
as the ``Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000''.
(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Creation of general rules relating to civil forfeiture
Sec. 3. Compensation for damage to seized property.
Sec. 4. Attorney fees, costs, and interest.
Sec. 5. Seizure warrant requirement.
Sec. 6. Use of forfeited funds to pay restitution to crime victims.
Sec. 7. Civil forfeiture of real property.
Sec. 8. Stay of civil forfeiture case.
Sec. 9. Civil restraining orders.
Sec. 10. Cooperation among Federal prosecutors.
Sec. 11. Statute of limitations for civil forfeiture actions.
Sec. 12. Destruction or removal of property to prevent seizure.
Sec. 13. Fungible property in bank accounts.
Sec. 14. Fugitive disentitlement.
Sec. 15. Enforcement of foreign forfeiture judgment.
Sec. 16. Encouraging use of criminal forfeiture as an alternative to
Sec. 17. Access to records in bank secrecy jurisdictions.
Sec. 18. Application to alien smuggling offenses.
Sec. 19. Enhanced visibility of the asset forfeiture program.
Sec. 20. Proceeds.
Sec. 21. Effective date.
SEC. 2. CREATION OF GENERAL RULES RELATING TO CIVIL FORFEITURE
(a) In General.--Chapter 46 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended by inserting after section 982 the following:
``Sec. 983. General rules for civil forfeiture proceedings
``(a) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>> Notice; Claim; Complaint.--
``(1)(A)(i) Except as provided in clauses (ii) through (v),
in any nonjudicial civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil
forfeiture statute, with respect to which the Government is
required to send written notice to interested parties, such
notice shall be sent in a manner to achieve proper notice as
soon as practicable, and in no case more than 60 days after the
date of the seizure.
``(ii) No notice is required if, before the 60-day period
expires, the Government files a civil judicial forfeiture action
[[Page 114 STAT. 203]]
against the property and provides notice of that action as
required by law.
``(iii) If, before the 60-day period expires, the Government
does not file a civil judicial forfeiture action, but does
obtain a criminal indictment containing an allegation that the
property is subject to forfeiture, the Government shall either--
``(I) send notice within the 60 days and continue
the nonjudicial civil forfeiture proceeding under this
``(II) terminate the nonjudicial civil forfeiture
proceeding, and take the steps necessary to preserve its
right to maintain custody of the property as provided in
the applicable criminal forfeiture statute.
``(iv) In a case in which the property is seized by a State
or local law enforcement agency and turned over to a Federal law
enforcement agency for the purpose of forfeiture under Federal
law, notice shall be sent not more than 90 days after the date
of seizure by the State or local law enforcement agency.
``(v) If the identity or interest of a party is not
determined until after the seizure or turnover but is determined
before a declaration of forfeiture is entered, notice shall be
sent to such interested party not later than 60 days after the
determination by the Government of the identity of the party or
the party's interest.
``(B) A supervisory official in the headquarters office of
the seizing agency may extend the period for sending notice
under subparagraph (A) for a period not to exceed 30 days (which
period may not be further extended except by a court), if the
official determines that the conditions in subparagraph (D) are
``(C) Upon motion by the Government, a court may extend the
period for sending notice under subparagraph (A) for a period
not to exceed 60 days, which period may be further extended by
the court for 60-day periods, as necessary, if the court
determines, based on a written certification of a supervisory
official in the headquarters office of the seizing agency, that
the conditions in subparagraph (D) are present.
``(D) The period for sending notice under this paragraph may
be extended only if there is reason to believe that notice may
have an adverse result, including--
``(i) endangering the life or physical safety of an
``(ii) flight from prosecution;
``(iii) destruction of or tampering with evidence;
``(iv) intimidation of potential witnesses; or
``(v) otherwise seriously jeopardizing an
investigation or unduly delaying a trial.
``(E) Each of the Federal seizing agencies conducting
nonjudicial forfeitures under this section shall report
periodically to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of
Representatives and the Senate the number of occasions when an
extension of time is granted under subparagraph (B).
``(F) If the Government does not send notice of a seizure of
property in accordance with subparagraph (A) to the person from
whom the property was seized, and no extension of time is
granted, the Government shall return the property to that person
without prejudice to the right of the Government to
[[Page 114 STAT. 204]]
commence a forfeiture proceeding at a later time. The Government
shall not be required to return contraband or other property
that the person from whom the property was seized may not
``(2)(A) Any person claiming property seized in a
nonjudicial civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil forfeiture
statute may file a claim with the appropriate official after the
``(B) A claim under subparagraph (A) may be filed not later
than the deadline set forth in a personal notice letter (which
deadline may be not earlier than 35 days after the date the
letter is mailed), except that if that letter is not received,
then a claim may be filed not later than 30 days after the date
of final publication of notice of seizure.
``(C) A claim shall--
``(i) identify the specific property being claimed;
``(ii) state the claimant's interest in such
property (and provide customary documentary evidence of
such interest if available) and state that the claim is
not frivolous; and
``(iii) be made under oath, subject to penalty of
``(D) A claim need not be made in any particular form. Each
Federal agency conducting nonjudicial forfeitures under this
section shall make claim forms generally available on request,
which forms shall be written in easily understandable language.
``(E) Any person may make a claim under subparagraph (A)
without posting bond with respect to the property which is the
subject of the claim.
``(3)(A) Not later than 90 days after a claim has been
filed, the Government shall file a complaint for forfeiture in
the manner set forth in the Supplemental Rules for Certain
Admiralty and Maritime Claims or return the property pending the
filing of a complaint, except that a court in the district in
which the complaint will be filed may extend the period for
filing a complaint for good cause shown or upon agreement of the
``(B) <<NOTE: Regulations.>> If the Government does not--
``(i) file a complaint for forfeiture or return the
property, in accordance with subparagraph (A); or
``(ii) before the time for filing a complaint has
``(I) obtain a criminal indictment containing
an allegation that the property is subject to
``(II) take the steps necessary to preserve
its right to maintain custody of the property as
provided in the applicable criminal forfeiture
the Government shall promptly release the property pursuant to
regulations promulgated by the Attorney General, and may not
take any further action to effect the civil forfeiture of such
property in connection with the underlying offense.
``(C) In lieu of, or in addition to, filing a civil
forfeiture complaint, the Government may include a forfeiture
allegation in a criminal indictment. If criminal forfeiture is
the only forfeiture proceeding commenced by the Government, the
Government's right to continued possession of the property shall
be governed by the applicable criminal forfeiture statute.
``(D) No complaint may be dismissed on the ground that the
Government did not have adequate evidence at the time
[[Page 114 STAT. 205]]
the complaint was filed to establish the forfeitability of the
``(4)(A) In any case in which the Government files in the
appropriate United States district court a complaint for
forfeiture of property, any person claiming an interest in the
seized property may file a claim asserting such person's
interest in the property in the manner set forth in the
Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims,
except that such claim may be filed not later than 30 days after
the date of service of the Government's complaint or, as
applicable, not later than 30 days after the date of final
publication of notice of the filing of the complaint.
``(B) A person asserting an interest in seized property, in
accordance with subparagraph (A), shall file an answer to the
Government's complaint for forfeiture not later than 20 days
after the date of the filing of the claim.
``(b) <<NOTE: Courts.>> Representation.--
``(1)(A) If a person with standing to contest the forfeiture
of property in a judicial civil forfeiture proceeding under a
civil forfeiture statute is financially unable to obtain
representation by counsel, and the person is represented by
counsel appointed under section 3006A of this title in
connection with a related criminal case, the court may authorize
counsel to represent that person with respect to the claim.
``(B) In determining whether to authorize counsel to
represent a person under subparagraph (A), the court shall take
into account such factors as--
``(i) the person's standing to contest the
``(ii) whether the claim appears to be made in good
``(2)(A) If a person with standing to contest the forfeiture
of property in a judicial civil forfeiture proceeding under a
civil forfeiture statute is financially unable to obtain
representation by counsel, and the property subject to
forfeiture is real property that is being used by the person as
a primary residence, the court, at the request of the person,
shall insure that the person is represented by an attorney for
the Legal Services Corporation with respect to the claim.
``(B)(i) At appropriate times during a representation under
subparagraph (A), the Legal Services Corporation shall submit a
statement of reasonable attorney fees and costs to the court.
``(ii) The court shall enter a judgment in favor of the
Legal Services Corporation for reasonable attorney fees and
costs submitted pursuant to clause (i) and treat such judgment
as payable under section 2465 of title 28, United States Code,
regardless of the outcome of the case.
``(3) The court shall set the compensation for
representation under this subsection, which shall be equivalent
to that provided for court-appointed representation under
section 3006A of this title.
``(c) Burden of Proof.--In a suit or action brought under any civil
forfeiture statute for the civil forfeiture of any property--
``(1) the burden of proof is on the Government to establish,
by a preponderance of the evidence, that the property is subject
[[Page 114 STAT. 206]]
``(2) the Government may use evidence gathered after the
filing of a complaint for forfeiture to establish, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that property is subject to
``(3) if the Government's theory of forfeiture is that the
property was used to commit or facilitate the commission of a
criminal offense, or was involved in the commission of a
criminal offense, the Government shall establish that there was
a substantial connection between the property and the offense.
``(d) Innocent Owner Defense.--
``(1) An innocent owner's interest in property shall not be
forfeited under any civil forfeiture statute. The claimant shall
have the burden of proving that the claimant is an innocent
owner by a preponderance of the evidence.
``(2)(A) With respect to a property interest in existence at
the time the illegal conduct giving rise to forfeiture took
place, the term `innocent owner' means an owner who--
``(i) did not know of the conduct giving rise to
``(ii) upon learning of the conduct giving rise to
the forfeiture, did all that reasonably could be
expected under the circumstances to terminate such use
of the property.
``(B)(i) For the purposes of this paragraph, ways in which a
person may show that such person did all that reasonably could
be expected may include demonstrating that such person, to the
extent permitted by law--
``(I) gave timely notice to an appropriate law
enforcement agency of information that led the person to
know the conduct giving rise to a forfeiture would occur
or has occurred; and
``(II) in a timely fashion revoked or made a good
faith attempt to revoke permission for those engaging in
such conduct to use the property or took reasonable
actions in consultation with a law enforcement agency to
discourage or prevent the illegal use of the property.
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106th Congressional Public Laws Records and Documents
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