The Forfeiture Trial: Establishing Forfeitability - Chapter 11 - Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States - 2nd Edition
Have a question? Email us about this product!
Asset Forfeiture in the United States - 2nd Edition - Hardcover
Asset Forfeiture in the United States - 2nd Edition - Electronic
§ 11-1 Overview
There are two phases to a civil forfeiture trial.1 In the first
phase, the Government must establish the forfeitability of the
property by a preponderance of the evidence. If the Government
meets this burden, the trial moves to the second phase in which
the claimant — if he wishes to do so — has the burden of
establishing an affirmative innocent owner defense.
This chapter deals with the first, or forfeitability, phase of the
trial. It begins by discussing trial procedure: the right to a trial by
jury, the Government’s burden of proof, the admissibility of
evidence, and the consequences that flow from the claimant’s
assertion of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
It then discusses what the Government is required to prove to
establish the forfeitability of the property.
To establish the forfeitability of the property, the Government
must prove that there was some connection, or nexus, between the
property and a criminal offense. What that connection must be
differs from offense to offense. What the Government must prove
when forfeiting “proceeds” in a drug case is different from what it
must prove when it is forfeiting “property involved” in a money
laundering case, and so forth. Therefore, most of the discussion
regarding what the Government must prove to establish the
forfeitability of the property is reserved to Chapters 25 through 27,
which discuss the requirements of the respective forfeiture
Stefan D. Cassella, as a federal prosecutor, was one of the federal government's leading experts on asset forfeiture law for over thirty years, and now serves as an expert witness and consultant to law enforcement agencies and the financial sector as the CEO of AssetForfeitureLaw, LLC. As a Deputy Chief for the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and later as the Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore, MD, he litigated some of the Government's most significant forfeiture and money laundering cases and drafted many of the federal forfeiture and money laundering statutes. Mr. Cassella handled the forfeiture in one of the largest forfeiture cases ever brought by the United States - the forfeiture of $1.2 billion in assets from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), was the principal author of much of the federal forfeiture legislation, including the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA), and the applicable sections of the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, and is the author of numerous law review articles on asset forfeiture and money laundering. In the 1980s, Mr. Cassella was Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He has a J.D. from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics from Cornell University. This book was written in the author's private capacity as a lawyer, and the book does not in any way constitute an official statement of the law or policy or otherwise reflect the views of the United States Department of Justice or any of its agencies.