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Forfeiting Our Property Rights

Is Your Property Safe from Seizure?

By Rep. Henry J. Hyde
About the Book

Most people don’t know it, but the government can take people’s homes, cars, and money without charging them with a crime — and the burden of recovery is on the owners!

In Forfeiting Our Property Rights, Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois examines the abuse inherent in civil forfeiture, the law that lets government take property that is merely suspected of having “facilitated” crime. Hyde shows how forfeiture law has cost innocent people their property and at least one citizen, Donald Scott, his life. In fact, over a quarter of a million Americans have had their property seized through forfeiture law.

Congressman Hyde proposes an overhaul of the law to protect innocent property owners, including a shift in the burden of proof from citizen to the government and a raising of the standard the government must satisfy to seize property in the first place. This alarm on behalf of our threatened civil liberties and rights couldn’t be more timely.

About the Author

Congressman Henry J. Hyde represents the 6th Congressional District of Illinois.

What Others Have Said

“The stories in this book will make your blood boil. Is this America at the close of the 20th century? If is seems more like medieval Europe, when lords held all but unaccountable power over their subjects, it is because that is the origin of modern American forfeiture law. Revived and driven by the war on drugs, that law today is being used across this nation to make a mockery of our rights to property and due process, and is now reaching well beyond the war on drugs. It is to the credit of Henry Hyde—no pandering liberal he— that a spotlight is shining at last on this dark corner of our law.”
—Roger Pilon, from the Foreword