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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. ...


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[[Page 201]]

                      CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM
                               ACT OF 2000

[[Page 114 STAT. 202]]

Public Law 106-185
106th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   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 
follows:

Sec.  1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec.  2. Creation of general rules relating to civil forfeiture 
           proceedings.
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 
           civil forfeiture.
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 
            PROCEEDINGS.

    (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 
                section; or
                    ``(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 
        present.
            ``(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 
                individual;
                    ``(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 
        legally possess.
            ``(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 
        seizure.
            ``(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 
                perjury.
            ``(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 
        parties.
            ``(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 
                expired--
                          ``(I) obtain a criminal indictment containing 
                      an allegation that the property is subject to 
                      forfeiture; and
                          ``(II) take the steps necessary to preserve 
                      its right to maintain custody of the property as 
                      provided in the applicable criminal forfeiture 
                      statute,
        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 
        property.
            ``(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 
                forfeiture; and
                    ``(ii) whether the claim appears to be made in good 
                faith.
            ``(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 
        to forfeiture;

[[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 
        forfeiture; and
            ``(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 
                forfeiture; or
                    ``(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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