The issue has created an alliance in organizations such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, which argue the practice stacks the deck against innocent property owners refuting forfeitures. The groups also believe civil asset forfeiture is counter to criminal justice system’s presumption of innocence and creates perverse incentives for law enforcement, as often the proceeds from seized property benefit police departments and prosecutors’ offices.

To eliminate abuses of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement, the ACLU joined 23 groups calling on Congress to enact federal forfeiture reforms. In a letter to top lawmakers with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees sent earlier this month, the groups called on policymakers to end the Equitable Sharing Program, restore the Fifth Amendment right to due process and Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and direct forfeiture proceeds to the Department of Treasury’s general fund.

“Property rights and due process are fundamental American principles,” the letter stated. “Congress has an enormous opportunity to address civil forfeiture abuses that undermine property rights, due process and economic freedom.”